Concerned about the number of grammatical errors in letters and other signs that literacy levels are not quite up to scratch, one local company has decided to do its part to help raise the standard.
This morning, the Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited (ICBL) launched its inaugural National Junior Spelling Bee competition at its Roebuck Street head office.
Chief Operating Officer Oliver Jordan stated that in recent times, his company had noticed that, “All too often, we observe poorly written letters of application and other communications which indicate that we are having a problem with accepted English and spelling in Barbados. It also saddens us to admit that more and more we are seeing letters and emails riddled with shorthand text and poor grammar.”
So, with that in mind, Jordan said, “We are determined to make a difference by addressing this practice, starting with this age group of children (Classes 3 and 4 primary school students) so we can make an impact before they enter secondary school.”
So far, 30 schools, including private and public primary schools, have agreed to take part, but the organisers expect more to sign up before entries officially close on September 28.
Head of Marketing and Communications with ICBL, Averil Byer, gave further details of the competition. “There will be four students per school, or 120 students so far, and on September 28 there will be an orientation for all students and teachers taking part. There will be three preliminary rounds. The students will be divided into three groups, and the top 12 students from each group will go forward to the finals on October 25. So, we will have about 36 students in the finals who will vie for a challenge trophy for their school and the winning student will also receive a trophy.”
Byer said so far, other corporate entities had expressed an interest in donating prizes to the participants and all students in the competition will receive prizes even if they do not make it to the final rounds.
During the launch, the company also donated books it collected from its employees during a book drive held earlier in the year, to the Ministry of Education. Literacy and Assessment Officer with the Ministry of Education Janelle Little said the books will eventually be distributed among the island’s schools.