The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Foundation on Monday (October 26, 2020) opened applications for the seventh edition of its annual National Essay Competition (NEC) which awards a total tertiary education scholarship prize worth $10,000.
Entrants for the award must submit an essay of not more than 750 words on the topic, “You have been given the opportunity to speak at the UN General Assembly Meeting in New York on the challenges facing Education of the African youth in the midst of the novel Coronavirus pandemic”.
Entry to the contest which is reserved for only Ghanaian Senior High School (SHS) students opened yesterday, October 26, 2020 and closes on Monday, November 30, 2020.
Addressing the launch of the competition in Accra, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of UBA Ghana, Mr Olalekan Balogun said the contest is aimed at promoting a reading culture and encouraging healthy, intellectual competition among SHS students.
He stated that the scholarship prize will be split among the top three finalists with the winner, first runner-up and second runner-up receiving $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000 respectively. The monies are to enable the winners to further their education in any African university of their choice.
Mr Balogun also disclosed that as part of measures to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, entries should ideally be sent electronically through; www.ubaghana.com/nationalessaycompetition2020.com or presented physically at any UBA Ghana bank branch.
“For us at UBA we believe that Africa has its destiny in its hands and one of the ways that we can help to promote the development of human capital is by supporting education by encouraging our young brilliant minds to participate in such contests.
“UBA believes that giving back to the continent through education will help develop the continent. Giving that COVID-19 has come to change the way we do things, we believe that we need our young people to put their minds on paper and tell us how they feel about how it has impacted them on the whole”.
In an address read on his behalf, the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh praised the organisers for the choice of topic which he said was relevant to the global Coronavirus response.
He added that he was delighted that UBA was involved in promoting literacy in Ghana and urged other corporate bodies to emulate the bank by supporting the government’s efforts to enhance education.
“I am delighted to know that UBA is involved in the development of literacy skills, firstly through its Read Africa Project and also this National Essay Competition. Through these initiatives, UBA has shown that it is interested in the intellectual development of our children and the Ministry of Education, highly commends them for this. I look forward to a very competitive contest with many participants and may the best student win,” he said.
In an address read on his behalf, the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa commended UBA for braving the economic impact of the Coronavirus on businesses by maintaining the prize at $10,000.
He also assured that he would issue a circular to the Heads of all SHSs to encourage their students to participate in the competition.
“This is a noble activity which needs the support of all. Though only SHS Two students are in school, I will work with my team to send a circular to all schools for their students to participate in the 2020 competition,” he said.
“Last year was a landmark and I am sure that UBA was overwhelmed with the numbers that came in, we are hoping that this year because it’s online it would be much bigger”.
Remarks of 2019 winner
The 2019 winner of the competition, Ms Assanwaa Akpene Yankson from the Wesley Girls High School expressed gratitude to the UBA Foundation for providing her with the opportunity to develop her writing skills.
Ms Yankson who is awaiting her West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results in order to access her scholarship also urged all SHS students to participate in the contest.