More than 400 schools from across Addis Ababa took part in the annual spelling bee championship.
“When we first planned the competition, we invited over 700 schools to nominate students that will be participating in the spelling bee. Out of those, 432 schools responded to us and we worked with them on how to train their students,” said Abye Tekle, Founder of the Ethiopian Spelling Bee.
The spelling bee aims to help students improve their vocabulary and spelling, learn new words and the correct use of the English language.
First place winners of the competition, 13-year-old Feben Beyene from Hasset Academy and 9-year-old Lidiya Birhanu from Ethio National School, were awarded a one week all-expense paid trip to Washington DC to take part in another spelling bee competition organized there.
Third, fourth and fifth place were awarded 15,000 birr or a laptop of their choice, 10,000 birr or a tablet and 5,000 birr or a digital camera respectively.
More than 200,000 students participated in the competition. To prepare, entrants were provided with study materials by the Ethiopian Spelling Bee staff.
The students had to go through a series of small scale spelling bee competitions to take part in the championship. Schools enrolled in the Ethiopian Spelling Bee conducted spelling competitions at a classroom, grade and school level to choose their representatives for the next level of the competition.
Participants then competed in sub-city level spelling bees earning them the right to represent their sub-cities at the Final competition.
“Spelling bee competitions are very good tools for students to improve their English. Schools will have the chance to work together which means students from different schools will get the chance to interact. This creates a network,” Abye said.
The whole process and final competition is said to have cost around two million birr.
The Ethiopian Spelling Bee is an initiative from the Ethiopian American Spelling Bee that is based in Washington DC, US.