Over 2,000 primary schools are to compete in this year’s spelling competition.
The 2017 edition organised by the Kenya National Spelling Bee (KNSB) targets 50 schools in each of the 47 counties.
“It is estimated that 100 learners will participate at the school level during the preliminaries, translating to approximately 235,000 participants in Standard Six and Seven,” said KNSB Programme Manager Angela Bor.
The competition will kick off at the school level with a sensitisation workshop for the English teachers.
At the school level, three best participants will be selected to represent the school at the county championship where another three will then be selected to take part in the national championship.
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The top three spelling champions in the country will be prepared to compete in the African Spelling Bee Championship to be hosted in the country. Some 18 countries have so far confirmed their participation.
Ms Bor said four books published by the Kenya Literature Bureau have already been selected for the students to go through in preparation for the competition.
They include The Winner and Other Stories, Sky is the Limit by Joshua Mwaura, Whispers at Dawn by Gerald Githinji and Miss Uhuru 1963: Working for Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, an autobiography by Elizabeth Mumbi Madoka.
Education ministry Basic Education Deputy Director Fred Haga applauded the initiative and assured of the ministry’s support.
He also called on the sector players to participate in the ongoing curriculum reform in the country.
“We are almost at the end. We want the process to be participatory and we are open to suggestions either submitted to the ministry or at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development,” said Mr Haga.
Twaweza East Africa Data and Voice Director John Mugo said a lot more needs to be done to improve mastery of the English language in the country.
Standard Group is the official media partner. Viewers will have a chance to see the contestants in a 13-episode weekly TV show to be aired by KTN between March and July.
“Through KTN, you will be able to reach over 5 million viewers,” said Standard Group Head of Marketing Doreen Mbaya.
Ms Mbaya emphasised on the media house’s passion in supporting initiatives aimed at improving pupils’ command of the English language that include newspapers for schools.
Three students participated in the 2016 competition held in South Africa where Alma Wanjiku of St Mary’s Ruaraka School took position two. It had only incorporated students from Nairobi County.
Others were Abigail Simiyu of St Mary’s Ruaraka School and Paul Mwangi of Bondeni Primary School.