UBA, MBSEE national essay competition: Le 100million plus up for grabs  

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Dignitaries and top performing pupils in the 2nd edition’s event in photon opps at Bintumani Conference Hall

By Alhaji Haruna Sani

The United Bank for Africa Foundation (UBAF) in collaboration with the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) has set aside old Le100million plus laptops for the top three winners of the National Essay Competition for Senior Secondary School Pupils across Sierra Leone.

While launching the 3rd Edition of the National Essay Competition for Senior Secondary School Pupils across Sierra Leone on November 11th  at the Bintumani Conference Hall, Aberdeen in Freetown, Usman Isiaka, Managing Director/CEO, UBA Sierra Leone, said winners of the competition will be given an opportunity to win scholarship grants for their university education in any Africa University of their choice.

He said the winners would receive up to the limits of NLe50,000, NLe30,000 and  NLe20,000 for the first, second and third positions respectively. He said the essay offers an opportunity for pupils in examination classes to strengthen their critical thinking, civics and other and other skillset relevant to their growth.

MD Isiaka said the National Essay Competition (NEC) is the UBA Foundation initiative that started in 2011 as part of UBA group’s drive to improve the access to education for the underprivileged across Africa. He said this year marks the 3rd edition of the life-changing competition organized by UBA Foundation in collaboration with MBSSE in Sierra Leone.

He assured that UBA Foundation is committed to organizing NEC annually to compliment the Sierra Leone Government’s effort in promoting quality education in the country.

“Participants must submit their hand written essays not later than 12th December, 2022 at 5:00 Pm GMT at any of the 16 MBSSE district offices, at UBA headquarters located at 15 Charlotte Street, Freetown, or any of the branches of UBA bank. All essays submitted must include full name, age, town and districts, school name, full name and telephone number of participant’s teachers, parents/guardian and the number of words use in the essay (450 to 500 words) and essay must not be submitted at more than one place or time,” he explained.

CEO Isiaka furthered that all essays must be about the topic: Transforming Education requires collective effort including that of families and communities and to discuss the specific interventions from families and or communities that can improve quality in education.

He said essays submitted by participants at the 16 district levels will be marked by a panel of academic judges, who will be selected by the MBSSE and UBA and announcement of the 12 finalists of the competition will be made over TV broadcast, radio, and newspaper.

He intimated that UBA will support finalists for travel to Freetown with their teacher, parent or guardian to compete in the final round.

“Finalists will write a second essay, which will be evaluated for selecting the first second and third place national winners that will get the scholarship grant while all the 12 Finalists who sufficiently defend their essays in a 5 minutes interview with the judges and meet a cut-off mark of 40% and above in the second rounds of the essay will each receive a Laptop”.

Dr. Claudius Bart-Williams, Board Chairman, UBA Sierra Leone said Last year, the UBA Foundation National Essay Competition event was a huge success, adding the Bank could not have done it better without the Ministry’s support.

He said the bank has credited the various accounts of the last three winners with a total sum of Le 100,000 grant scholarship for their tertiary education, maintaining that the 12 Finalists including the winners were each given a brand new laptop computer to support them in their educational research and other academic activities.

“As a board, we remain committed to supporting the management of UBA Sierra Leone in actualizing the bank’s corporate social responsibilities in the following areas: Education, Environment, Economic Empowerment and Special Projects. Not too long ago, the bank participated in the distribution of books to various secondary schools”. 

Frances M. Kamara, Director of School Quality Assurance, on behalf of MBSSE commended UBA for supporting the government human capital development agenda and encouraged pupils to grab the opportunity to apply in huge number. She expressed disappointment of last year’s low turnout by pupils.

“I will also want to urged parents and teachers as well to encourage their children to apply and be part of the competition”.

Musa Ayawova Musa of the Sierra Leone Grammar School who was among the 12 finalist o the second edition of the competition said the competition developed his confidence and ability to learn. He said the laptop given to him has been positively contributing to his learning.

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