The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Foundation has opened applications for the eighth 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, "The Ghana Education Service (GES) has appointed you as a consultant to review the double-track system. Submit your recommendations to the governing council of the GES.”
Entry to the contest which is reserved for only Ghanaian Senior High School (SHS) students opened November 3, 2021, and closes on November 30, 2021.
The educational grant is only applicable to applicants who intend to study in an African University.
Addressing the launch of the competition in Accra on November 3, 2021, the Deputy Managing Director of UBA Ghana, Madam Sylvia Inkoom said the contest is aimed at promoting a reading culture and encouraging healthy, intellectual competition among SHS students.
She said 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.
Madam Inkoom said the choice of the topic was deliberate and intended to spark a national dialogue about the 'double-track system' which was informed by facts and not sentiments.
She said the essays would also provide students with an appropriate platform to influence national policy.
"For me, the most important aspect of the topic is the recommendation to the GES and the Ministry. I am sure that if this goes very well and we get a representation from every SHS, the Ministry would not need to do any further work in terms of getting consultants to go on the ground to get feedback," she said.
"This would be adequate primary data from which the government can get information to improve the system and this is why the back has placed this scholarship behind it".
She urged prospective participants to send in handwritten essay entries of not more than 750 words on the selected topic to any UBA Bank branch.
In an address, the Deputy Minister of Education, John Ntim Fordjuor praised the organisers for the choice of topic which he said was relevant to the times.
He added that he was delighted that UBA was involved in partnering the Ministry of Education to promote literacy in Ghana, urging other corporate bodies to emulate the bank by supporting the government's efforts to enhance education.
Mr Fordjuor said every policy no matter how successful it has been was subject to review and he was looking forward to seeing the recommendations from the students.
He also disclosed that between 2017-2020, enrolment at SHS level had increased from an average of 600,000 to 1.2million under the 'double-track system'.
On his part, the President of BlueCrest University College, Prof. Anand Agrawal commended UBA for its initiatives and programmes in the education sector.
He also announced that the winners of the essay competition would also be offered the opportunity to apply for scholarhips at BlueCrest College.