Rwandan students shine at intercontinental spelling competition

Students from Rwanda pose with their medals after the competition, in Dubai. Courtesy

Three Rwandan students emerged winners in the 2018 intercontinental spelling, reading and writing competition. The competition was organized by Brain Teasers.

The competition took place on October 5, at Springdales School, Dubai where four countries qualified for the finals. These included; United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Ghana and Rwanda.

Out of the nine students from Rwanda, three were among the winners. Adhijah Jagan, of Green Hills Academy, Kigali, was the overall winner in the reading, writing and spelling competition. She was awarded Rwf250,000, two certificates, and two trophies (one golden and one bronze).

Other Rwandan students that were recognised were; Tania Kalisa Umurerwa from Maranyundo Girls School, Bugesera, who was the third in the sixth category, and Anne Murekatete Gihozo, from Ahazaza Independent School, Muhanga. Umurerwa was awarded with Rwf125,000, a golden medal, a bronze trophy and a certificate, while Gihozo was awarded with a watch, certificate, golden trophy and a bronze medal.

“When students take part in such competitions, they can be great public speakers. Reading helps learners discover spellings of different words as emphasis is put on the new words, although students can excel in reading, writing and spelling if teachers focus on all corners of English, for instance the grammar, pronunciation of words and punctuation,” says Eve Mutumba, a teacher and English Coach at Little Bears Montessori, Kimihurura.

She adds that children should be given a chance by teachers to focus on reading so that they answer questions about what the author wrote about in a given book or novel, thus relating them to the real world. This, she says, will push them to do extensive research and be attentive while reading, but not reading for the sake of just completing the book, but rather reading to understand and drawing lessons.

Mutumba further stresses that learners need to be encouraged and trained more by both the teachers and parents, explaining that home is the first school where parents should spare some time to read a book together with their children and ask them questions accordingly, along the week.

“The more the child reads, the more he or she gets informed, motivated and exposed but they also learn to polish their spoken and written English, since practice makes perfect,” she notes.

Samantha Isimbi, a student of Little Bears Montessori, was one of the participants, says that the competition helped in improving her listening skills since all learners had to answer questions asked, in only 15 seconds.

She stresses that she was able to learn new techniques of writing like super segimates, and transcribing phonemes.

Mutumba adds that the reading, writing and spelling culture in Rwanda can only be improved if all schools start training their children for such competitions every after a specific time as the school wishes.  She says that the school can decide to organise such competitions at the school level every month. This prepares learners for bigger competitions.

Other Rwandan students that participated in the competition were; Ray Udatinya, Alana Rukundo Turinawe from Little Bears, Aline Uzarama from Orp Care Nursery and Primary School, Kayonza, and Donata Mukashyaka and Jeanne Marie Uwera, from Rafiki International School, Bugesera.