Upcountry schools trounce Kampala in spelling competition

Monday October 19 2015

Tororo Parents Primary School pupils. PHOTO BY

Tororo Parents Primary School pupils. PHOTO BY ALEX ESAGALA 

By Joseph Kato


If you’re one of those persons who lives by the Luganda adage “a village cock cannot crow in town,” perhaps you better change your mindset.

It has been proved that someone from the remote villages can successful challenge the urbanites. And the proof was presented at the weekend when schools from the districts of eastern and western Uganda defeated Kampala-based schools at the climax of the 2015 National Spelling Bee competition.

In nerve-wrecking sessions at the Kampala Capital City Authority head office in Kampala, Tororo Parents Primary School emerged the overall winner with 580 points out of 600 thanks to their prolific speller, Leticia Namwadiko.

As the rest of the participants scratched heads and stammered, Namwadiko answered questions correctly. She was very confident, audible and very visibly informed.

Kampala and central region at large were represented by prominent schools such as Kampala Parents, City Parents, Hillside Academy and Victorious Education Centre.
Western Uganda was represented by Bweranyangi Junior and Parental Care. More than 12 schools took part in the final competitions and each school was represented by two participants.


The selections
The competitions started in March in the different regions until the best two schools were chosen to participate in the final challenge
Mr Aaron Kirunda, one of the directors of Spelling Bee Uganda, promised to take the winners to South Africa to acquire more literacy skills.

This was the third time the competitions were being held. “We started the spelling bee competitions purposely to promote the reading culture in schools. When the children compete, it makes them read harder to win and in turn improve their literacy,” Mr Kirunda said

Mr Ambrose Jimmy Atwoki, the KCCA deputy director of education and social services who represented the executive director, Ms Jennifer Musisi, advised parents to encourage their children to read.

“Buy short story books for children. Check their books when they return home to see whether they understood what they studied at school. Tell them to read for you. This will help to reduce literacy gaps in schools,” said Mr Atwoki.

He said KCCA will organise a workshop for teachers in government schools around Kampala to equip them with more skills of teaching literacy.

Dr Anthony Wekesa, one of the directors of Spelling Bee Uganda, cautioned parents against forcing children to do courses which are not of their choice.

“When a child does a course just to please the parent, his or her productivity in society is very low. This affects their career as well as national development,” Dr Wekesa cautioned.