By Elizabeth Chukwuma
For years, the United Ban For Africa, UBA plc, a pan African Bank, spread over the African Continent and key Commercial centres in Asia, Europe including the United States , US, had embarked on National Essay Competition among secondary school Students across the country to fill the vacuum created by the Federal and the states ministry of Education.
Note that the Bank had set up a Foundation, aimed at rekindling the reading culture among secondary school students across the country with mouth watery rewards for the first three runners –up. The Bank may have been encouraged to endow the Foundation because of its believe the Youths re critical to the Future of the nation and Africa in general.
The Value News learnt that Education is the pillar is the umbrella arm of the Foundation that guarantees its commitment to facilitating educational projects and bridging the literacy gap in a pan-African scale including the National essay competition among secondary school students which is geared at stimulating the quest for sound knowledge and arming educational institutions with support and or resources to meet their various financial needs.
There is no gain saying the fact that many bright students had dropped out of secondary schools, let alone proceeding to the tertiary institutions over the years because of the paucity of funds from their families but the UBA Foundation appears to have bridged the Vacuum. Between 2011 and 2018, the Foundation was said to have produced over 24 students from the National essay Competition.
Given the popularity which the National Essay Competition had gained over the years, had forced more secondary school students across the country to participate in the essay Competition to try their luck to win the heart- warming reward of between N1 million to N2 million and other Consolation prices. Going by the grading of the awards, the winner of the National Essay Competition, would go home with the star prize of N2 million education grant, while the second and third runners up prizes are N1.5 million and N1 million, education grants respectively. This may have made the 2019 edition of the Essay competition more keener and highly competitive.
As a prelude to getting the three lucky winners of the 2019 National Essay Competition, the Bank was said to have commenced the programme targeted at senior secondary school students in Nigeria. There indications that the Essay Competitions are being organised in other African countries with UBA plc established presence as part of the Foundation’s education initiative amongst secondary school students in Africa.
Bola Attah, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of the UBA Foundation while addressing the students and participants to flag off the National essay Competition assured them they have no cause to worry about the grant . She may have gladdened their heart when she repeatedly assured: to us in the Foundation , this is our drive to improve the quality of education across the country and African Continent in general. The UBA Foundation top official who could not hide feelings said it is a way of the Bank saying Thank you to its esteemed Customers across the African continent.
Explaining the modalities for this year’s Essay Competition she disclosed that received from students for the Competition, she disclosed that it will be reviewed by a distinguished panel of judges made up of Academicians from reputable Nigerian Universities, who are expected to shortlist the 12 best essays for further assessment.
It was gathered that from the 12 shortlisted best essays by the panel of Judges, made of University Professors, a second round of the Competition would be organised, this time around, it will be a supervised essay to select the three luck winners who will smile home with the millions naira educational grants.
Giving an insider information to the National Essay Competition, Attah said. ‘’this year’s Competition is one that helps promote creative and analytical thinking in students and to further help them to be problem solvers. Unveiling the topic for this year’s Competition: What do you think the government should do to control fraud in Nigeria, she appealed to the students and participants to put in their best to write world class essays that would stand the test of time.
Ogechi Altraide, Group Head, the Bank Direct Sales Agency may have may have strengthened the resolve of the students and participants to excel when she stressed the benefits of reading and writing essays,noting that ‘’there is need for them to focus on adapting themselves to happenings in their Organisation to have a growth mindset. According to her, this is the only way they can apply themselves and conquer whatever challenges they are faced with
At present, the National essay Competition was said to have been taken to Ghana and Senegal.
It is expected that more African countries including the East African countries of Mozambique and Kenya would be included to kick-start this year’s edition of the Competition. Officials of the UBA Foundation may have laced this year’s National Essay Competition with a new innovation by introducing a reward for schools that turn in the highest number of entries.
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