- Competition marks a decade of existence
UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has commenced the 2020 edition of its annual National Essay Competition (NEC) in Nigeria with a call for entries.
Now in its tenth year, the NEC is part of UBA Foundation’s education initiative which is aimed at promoting the reading culture and encouraging healthy and intellectual competition amongst secondary school students in Nigeria and across Africa.
This year’s edition, which is the 10th since inception, has been modified to ensure ease of access and increased participation of senior secondary school students from the comfort of their homes through the introduction of a digital submission portal.
Taking into consideration the effects the Covid-19 pandemic has had on lives and incomes across board, the foundation has also increased the prize money for the 2020 edition of competition by 33 per cent as the first prize winner will get an educational grant of N2.5m, up from N2m in 2019.
The second and third prize winners will now receive N2m and N1.5m educational grants respectively, from N1.5m and N1m which were awarded in the previous year’s competition.
Bola Atta, the chief executive officer, UBA Foundation, stated that with the newly introduced digital submission portal, more students in secondary schools across the country will have the opportunity to scan and send in their entries and compete to win educational grants for study at any university of their choice on the African continent.
She said, “As a Foundation, which is the CSR arm of the United Bank for Africa – a fully digitalised bank, we are driven by the mantra to always innovate and adapt to our constantly changing environment.
This year, we thought hard about how to ease the pains that everyone is feeling. Students have not been able to go to school and there has been a lot of anxiety in families trying to ensure that educational gaps do not emerge.
“It is imperative for us at the UBA Foundation that our impact programmes do not wane. We also need to design them to be as inclusive as possible so that those students who don’t have easy access to computers can still participate in the competition with a chance to win grants towards their tertiary edification.”
Atta explained that the choice of topic for this year’s edition is one that helps promote creative and analytical thinking in students whilst helping them become problem solvers.
The essay topic selected is “Do you think that the lock – down during the Covid-19 pandemic was an essential measure in spite of the hardship it has brought economically? What would you have done differently and why?”
“All entrants are to hand write their essays and upload scanned copies of their handwritten entries as well as ID on the digital portal before October 2, 2020.
“They may also drop off the handwritten essays at their nearest UBA business office for onward submission to the UBA Foundation,” the foundation has said.
It added that the judges who are made up of esteemed professors from reputable Nigerian Universities will receive all the essays on a digital drive, evaluate them and select the top 12 finalists all of who will take home consolation prizes including personal computers.
The finale of the NEC this year will be conducted virtually as the initiative rolls out across 19 more countries in Africa.
UBA Foundation embodies the UBA Group’s CSR objectives and seeks to impact positively on societies through several laudable projects and initiatives.
The Foundation has donated hundreds of thousands of books to students across Africa under the ‘Read Africa’ initiative aimed at encouraging and promoting the reading culture in African youths.