Mombasa to host 2nd African Spelling Bee championships in July

L-R Abigael Simiyu, Paul Mwangi, Alma Wanjiku. They flew to South Africa to compete in the first ever African Spelling Bee finals held in 2016 where they emerged 2nd. PHOTO: COURTESY.

Mombasa, KENYA: Mombasa county is set to host the 2nd edition of the African Spelling Bee that will see pupils from 18 countries in Africa battle it out for the championship in July 2017.

According to the organizers, Kenya National Spelling Bee (KNSB), this year’s competition is set to involve pupils from all the 47 counties where only 3 will be chosen to represent Kenya in the African championships.

Speaking during the Kenya Private Schools Association Annual meeting in Mombasa on Monday, KNSB program manager Angela Bor  said the competition started last year as a pilot program in Nairobi.

“Last year we did it in Nairobi county and it proved successful and three champions represented the country in Johannesburg, South Africa.This year we have gone to the 47 counties and we want 50 schools per county.” Said Ms Bor.

The 2017 competition will involve four rounds and the pupil who will emerge top in the national category, will be awarded scholarships worth sh. 500,000, with 1st and 2nd Runners up being awarded sh.300,000 and 100,000 respectively.

“We will  have have the participating schools pick 3 tops pupils from each school who will proceed to the county level where 3 top students will be picked to battle it out in the National level.” Added Ms. Bor.

She added that the three winners will then represent Kenya in the African National Championships to be held in Mombasa.

Last year, Kenya shared  position 2 in the African Spelling Bee championships with Ethiopia, while South Africa emerged top.

14- year old Paul Mwangi from Bondeni Primary School in Embakasi, Nairobi, who was among the three who represented Kenya, told Baraka FM that the spelling bee competition helped improve his vocabulary.

“I enjoyed the travelling experience, meeting new friends and realized how other countries take spelling competition seriously. I urge the organizers to continue with the program as it will help a lot of pupils.” Said Paul.

KNSB is partnering with the Kenya Literature Bureau to provide four books that will be used to prepare the pupils for the competition;The Winner, Let Her be, The Village fool and Miss Uhuru.

The four books from the Kenya Literature Bureau that will be used for the competition. PHOTO: BRIAN OSWETA.
The four books from the Kenya Literature Bureau that will be used for the competition. PHOTO: BRIAN OSWETA.

In this year’s championship, the schools of the three champions in the national category will also receive a certificate, trophy, computers, book donations and cash prizes.

The competition is open to class 6 and 7 pupils from all primary schools across the country.

Schools are encouraged to register on the Kenya National Spelling Bee website by the end of April as the competitions are set to kick off from May all the way to July 2017.

The African spelling Bee is an adaptation of the Scripps National Spelling Bee which is an annual spelling competition held in the US and in Canada mainly to promote literacy.