The UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa Plc, on Tuesday announced the commencement of the 2019 edition of its annual National Essay Competition in Nigeria with a call for entries.
This year, the topic is “What do you think the government should do to control fraud in Nigeria?”
Now in its 9th year, the essay competition, targeted at senior secondary school students in Nigeria is organised annually, as part of the UBA Foundation’s education initiative which is aimed at promoting the reading culture and encouraging healthy and intellectual competition amongst secondary school students in Nigeria and across Africa.
At a media launch at its Lagos headquarters, Chief Executive of UBA Foundation, Mrs. Bola Atta, while announcing the call for entries, noted that this edition will provide an opportunity for students in secondary schools across the country to put in their entries and win prizes in the form of educational grants to study in any university of their choice on the African continent.
Recall that beginning from last year, the prize money increased significantly to N2m for the first prize, while the second and third prizes are N1.5m and N1.0m educational grants, in line with its emphasize that education remains one of its key initiatives.
This year also, according to the organizer, schools that turn in the highest number of entries will be recognized and rewarded a special prize by the Foundation.
Addressing the students and participants at the event, Ms. Atta “this is our drive to improve the quality of education across the continent. It is also our way of giving back to society. The competition is a key aspect of our investment drive in human capital, as we seek to improve the knowledge base, allow students to express themselves and write creatively.
“We will continue to sustain the initiative because education is very important to UBA and we are more than committed to providing the necessary support for students in Nigeria and across the African continent.
“We are driven by the mantra to do well and do good and we will not relent in our efforts to touch lives through our various projects, and initiatives,” Bola Atta told the excited students.
Explaining the modalities for the competition, she stated that entries received from students for the competition will be reviewed by a distinguished panel of judges made up of professors from reputable Nigerian Universities, who will then shortlist 12 best essays for further assessment.
Following this, a second round of the competition will involve the 12 finalists who will write a second supervised essay from which three best essays will be selected as the overall winners from the 12 finalists emerged from the first round of the competition.
Atta added that the choice of essay for this year’s competition is one that helps promote creative and analytical thinking in students and helps them to be problem solvers.
In a statement, the foundation said that apart from Nigeria, competition has been taken to other African countries like Ghana and Senegal, assuring that countries including Mozambique and Kenya, will kick off the initiative this year.
Speaking on the benefits of reading and writing essays at the event, UBA’s Group Head, Direct Sales Agency, Ogechi Altraide, motivated the students to research the topics and give it their best shot. While stressing the need for them to focus on adapting themselves to happenings in their generation, she encouraged them to have a growth mindset which will ensure that they can apply themselves and conquer whatever challenges they are faced with.
According to her, reading and writing go hand in hand, hence the importance of students keeping abreast of how the economy can develop through reading and writing.
An English teacher from Holy Child College, Ikoyi, Mrs. Ezechukwu Ngozi, gave the students tips on how to write good essays and advised them to keep to the proper tenets of essay writing to come out tops in the competition.
As the CSR platform for the UBA Group, UBA Foundation embodies the Group’s CSR objectives and seeks to impact positively on societies through a number of laudable projects and initiatives.
Each year, the bank donates thousands of books to students in Nigeria and across Africa, under the ‘Read Africa’ initiative to encourage and promote the reading culture in secondary schools.