National spelling bee winners crowned

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Participants in the national spelling bee pose for a group photo after the event. (Francis Byaruhanga)

The winners of this year’s national spelling bee competition were last week crowned at the grand finale held in Kigali.

Kevin Irafasha from Saint Vincent Pallotti emerged the best in Kinyarwanda, while Portia Kamuala from Masaka Primary School and Lilice Iriza Ntazinda Path from Success Primary School were the best in English and French respectively. They beat the over 1,200 primary school pupils who participated in this year’s event.

The winners and participants were awarded medals, trophies and other scholastic materials like school bags, dictionaries, laptops, textbooks and free online access to National Public Library.   

According to Richard Kaweesi, Brain Teasers Rwanda, the agency behind the annual event, the competition took place in phases. The first round which was in French took place at Kigali City Hall on May 20, while the second round that featured English and Kinyarwanda took place at Adventist University of Central African on May 26.

Kaweesi said the annual event is aimed at reinforcing language competency among learners.

“It’s good to have the practice not only in classrooms but also through competitions. There are immense benefits in mastering several languages and therefore promoting multi-lingualism through debate should be encouraged more,” he said.

Francine Meyer, the head of cooperation at the French Embassy and Director of Institut Francais du Rwanda, said French is not only for the French people but for everyone else who wanted to learn it.

“Learning many languages is not wastage of time but rather brings more benefits like employment opportunities, easy access to education and improvement in communication,” she said.

Patrick Matsiko, a teacher at EPMA Kanyonyi Primary School, Nyarugenge District, said it’s very essential for students to be trained at an early age to be good speakers since they are the future leaders.

“Parents have also to be co-operative by following the development of the child’s daily communication,” he said.

Emmanuel Ntazinda, a parent of one of the winners, said it is important for parents to do after-class follow-ups on their children to shape their bahaviour.

“We should, for instance, indulge children in watching educational channels instead of letting them watch bad movies,” he said.

Neda Brown, the public affairs officer at the American Embassy in Kigali, urged teachers to keep up with similar competitions for better performance.

She thanked people behind the competition and encouraged teachers to spread it to rural schools as a means of boosting the quality of education in Rwanda.