The DBE, in partnership with Spell It South Africa, Monash South Africa, Nedbank and SABC launched the Spelling Bee South Africa Competition for 2015 at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg on 16 April 2015. Spell It has been one of the original DBE’s Spelling Bee implementation partners since 2013.
Spelling Bee South Africa is part of a broader comprehensive strategy aimed at addressing poor learner performance not only in Language, but also in Literacy and Numeracy. The Spelling Bee South Africa contributes to learners’ ability to read and write competently. The concept originated many years ago in the United States of America and is about being able to overcome the complexities of words that turn learners into champion spellers. The overall objective of the competition is to stimulate an interest in learning languages and other subjects that will broaden horizons.
2014 National Spelling Bee Champion, Brendan Craven from Bryneven Primary School, Gauteng, also attended the launch. Brendan’s mother, Ms Iva Craven, thanked the DBE for coming up with initiatives such as the Spelling Bee because it helps learners to reach their potential. “Brendan likes to read. Our role as his parents is to avail ourselves whenever he needs our support.” Addressing the occasion, the Director for Enrichment and Sport in Education, Ms Nozipho Xulu acknowledged all partners for their continued support in making the National Spelling Bee a success.
The Deputy Director-General (DDG) for Social Mobilisation and Support Services, Dr Granville Whittle stated that the DBE will ensure that all South African children understand their rights and respect the rights of others living in the country. Dr Whittle said that learners should be taught that South Africa belongs to all people who live in it as reflected in the Freedom Charter. The DDG said that, although the DBE has made huge strides in increasing access to basic education across the country, a lot of work still needs to be done by Government to improve quality and efficiency in schools. He further stated that the Spelling Bee teaches learners a passion for reading, grammar and spelling. “We need to ensure that there is sufficient age appropriate reading material in our schools to assist learners to become avid readers,” said Dr Whittle.
The DDG further added that the DBE will, in collaboration with all the Provincial Departments of Education, make it a point that all public schools have libraries. “Our learners need to be provided with more material to read more books. In the next five years, every school in the South African schooling system would have been provided with a library,” he said. “Reading clubs will also be established to promote a culture of reading in public schools,” Dr Whittle remarked.
This year’s Spelling Bee will take place on 10 October 2015. Additional information can be accessed on the Thutong Portal under the School Enrichment and Sport section and also on www.education.gov.za. The closing date for the registration of the competition was 31 March 2015. A manual to assist provincial coordinators, and indeed any entity that wants to be involved with the competition, will soon be uploaded on the website.