Botswana: Spelling Bee Hosts Visually Impaired, Deaf

Francistown — Spelling Bee Botswana recently held its first spelling bee national competitions for the deaf and visually impaired students.

Four schools, Tashatha Junior Secondary School in Francistown, Francistown Centre for the Deaf, Ramotswa Centre for the Deaf and Linchwe Junior Secondary School participated in this year's national competitions.

Speaking at the event, chief finance officer of Lucara Diamond company, Ms Boitumelo Maoketsa said Lucara Diamonds promoted the ongoing dialogue with the broad band of stakeholders across its operations.

[NOTE: Lucara Diamond has sent AllAfrica the following clarification: Boitumelo Maoketsa is Chief Financial of Lucara Botswana (PTY) LTD, based in Gaborone, not CFO of Lucara Diamond, which is based in Canada.]

She said they recognised that effective stakeholder engagement could create value and mitigate the risk for both the company and the stakeholders, and further added that they worked to provide lasting sustainable benefits to the community.

She said Lucara's contribution to the development of the community went beyond job creation as they also enabled and supported entrepreneurs and also invested in important community infrastructure.

She said that spelling bee was aimed at improving students' grammar and vocabulary while assisting them to spell and pronounce words properly.

Ms Maoketsa said Spelling Bee Botswana had led the pack in demonstrating that inclusiveness in education was possible.

She said disparities in education along the lines of gender, urban/ rural location and other dimensions meant that more investment in education infrastructure was required.

She added that introduction of Spelling Bee for the deaf and blind was a testimony to the perseverance of Spelling Bee Botswana to improve the inclusiveness of education system in the country.

Ms Maoketsa said Lucara Diamond pledge to continuously support initiatives that drove the quality and inclusiveness of education in Botswana.

She encouraged students to embrace the opportunity with zeal and determination to excel.

"It will be good if you can take this opportunity as a way of driving towards excellence," she said.

The competition comprised of 20 contestants, five were visually impaired students from Linchwe and 15 deaf students from other schools.

In stage one Tsholofelo Madome from Linchwe JSS got position one and got away with a laptop, a gold medal, a certificate and a trophy for the school.

In stage two position two and three George Hulton and Oteng Moselathi respectively from the visually impaired side battled it out, and George managed to obtain position two and awarded a silver medal and a certificate while

Oteng went away with a bronze medal and a certificate.

From the deaf side Nonhlanhla of Tashatha JSS obtained position one and was awarded a Lenovo laptop, gold medal, certificate and a trophy for her school.

Position two went to Kutlo Olatotswe of Ramotswa Centre for the Deaf (primary school) and got a 10 inch tablet, certificate and a silver medal.

Thabang Maduwe of Tashatha Junior Secondary School obtained position three and received a tablet, bronze medal and a certificate.

Ms Tshephang Morebodi the founder of Spelling Bee Botswana said they faced a number of challenges during the competition as they realised that the sign language was not universal, teachers from different schools had their way of signing some words, hence it ended up confusing the students.

She said another challenge was that of the Ministry of Basic Education not taking much participation, thus making it difficult for the Spelling Bee organisation to realise the inclusive education.

She said they intended to host the Africa Spelling Bee for the deaf and blind during the same year where they would be hosting the Africa mainstream Spelling Bee.

Source : BOPA

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