UBA Foundation has announced the commencement of the 2021 edition of its yearly National Essay Competition. The competition is part of the foundation’s education initiative, which is aimed at promoting literacy and encouraging healthy and intellectual competition among senior secondary school students in Nigeria and across the continent.
This year’s competition has been modified to ensure ease of access and increased participation of students, as they can submit entries from homes and schools through the foundation’s digital submission. Like the previous year, prizes for winners this year have increased by 33 per cent, with the first prize winner expected to receive an educational grant of N3m from the N2.5 million in 2020, to study at any African university of his or her choice. The second and third prizes now stand at N2.5m and N2m educational grants respectively. Winners of the 12 best essays will also go home with state-of-the-art laptops to help them with their tertiary research work and other studies.
Chief Executive Officer, UBA Foundation, Mrs. Bola Atta, said the foundation scaled up prizes for the second year in a row, to accommodate the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and fluctuation in currency levels. The essay topic for this year is: “What is the role of technology in educating the African youth?” All essays are to be handwritten and students have till October 29, 2021, to upload scanned copies of their handwritten entries as well as their IDs on the digital portal.
The entries will be evaluated by judges who are professors drawn from Nigerian universities. The judges will select top 12 finalists, who will write another supervised essay, where the top three winners will be announced at the grand finale scheduled to hold on November 30, at UBA’s head office in Lagos.
In a similar development, the Ministry of Education on Monday 20 September 2021 assured that candidates who missed the 2021 West Africa Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) in the Southeastern region following the enforcement of sit-at-home by some secessionists will be given another opportunity to write the examination.
This was disclosed by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr. Sonny Echono while monitoring some examination centres in Abuja on Monday.
Echono frowned at the Sept. 13 disruption of examination centres in the South East, particularly in Imo State. He, however, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the examination across the country which was written by over 1.57 million candidates.
According to Echono, the ministry will put modalities in place to ensure that the candidates who missed the examination in the South East are given other opportunities to write it. “We are very pleased that all around the country; examinations are going on peacefully as we have a total of over 19,000 exam centres across the country with over 1.57million registered candidates. Besides the disruptions we had on Sept.13 in the South East where some candidates were stopped from doing the exams, it is a peaceful examination. We are complying with all the standards and ethics of examinations, we are pursuing very hard more cases, incidence or possibilities of examinations malpractice because we have a zero-tolerance for examinations malpractice. We shall punish any person found culpable and ensure that sanity is restored in our system,’’ he said.
Echono further said that the ministry did not encounter challenges in preparing students for the examinations aside from the COVID-19 pandemic. “All COVID-19 safety protocols are being strictly adhered to in centres across the country,” he said. He said that although some schools were closed in states due to the COVID-19 pandemic, alternative arrangements were made especially for exit classes to take the examination.
On the possibilities of examination malpractices, Echono said that cases were usually collated at the end of the examination, pointing out that the culprits would also be brought to book. He said the ministry was collaborating with relevant examination bodies and Non-Government Organizations to fish out candidates involved in examination malpractices. “This is because we have a lot of miscreants who are perpetrating and deceiving people. We are going to undertake a general overhaul for all those offering so-called services to candidates. We didn’t see much of malpractices in internal examinations like this because these are students who are already in school,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the permanent secretary led the monitoring team to the Federal Government Girls College (FGGC) Bwari and Government Girls Secondary School, Dutse. It was also observed that the students of the GGSS, Dutse, were in full compliance with COVID-19 protocols.