The second season of "Spelling Bee" was launched yesterday to help school students enhance their spelling skills.
Hosted by Champs21.com, an initiative of The Daily Star, the contest will be held in 3,000 schools across the country. Students of class VI to X, except for the SSC and O Level examinees of 2013, from both English and Bangla medium schools are eligible to take part in it.
More than 200 teachers of 150 city schools joined the launching ceremony of the contest at The Daily Star centre in the capital. The event is styled "The Daily Star Spelling Bee - Powered by Horlicks, brought to you by Champs21.com."
Spelling Bee is an internationally acclaimed competition where participants are asked to spell English words correctly. It is quite popular in the USA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Indonesia, Pakistan and India. The contest first began in the US in 1925.
Russell T Ahmed, CEO of Champs21.com, presented an overview of last year's contest and explained this year's format.
Last year, more than 1 lakh students took part in the event mainly in seven divisions and this year, he hoped, the number would double in 64 districts.
He thanked the teachers for encouraging students to participate in the contest.
The main purpose of the competition is to help students improve their English spelling and vocabulary, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage, mentioned Russell.
GlaxoSmithKline is the power sponsor of the event, while Channel i is the official telecast partner.
The contest journey will have three phases -- online round, divisional round, and TV round. After getting registered on www.champs21.com, the students in the first round will have to play “Spell Bangladesh” game on the website.
They will have to read The Daily Star regularly as the words for the online round will be picked from a specific page of the newspaper.
Shykh Seraj, director and head of news of Channel i, said the last year's Spelling Bee is a perfect example of an educational programme being aired and gaining huge popularity.
The channel will telecast 32 episodes of the contest.
Expressing happiness to be a partner of the initiative, Soumendra S Das, marketing director of GlaxoSmithKline Bangladesh Ltd, hoped that the contest will have a positive impact on learning.
Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of The Daily Star, said building a nation can be possible in many ways and making the future generation is one of the biggest ways, which the teachers are doing.
Being the mother tongue, Bangla has to be learnt, preserved and promoted, but to be a part of the global world and be able to compete internationally, there is no alternative to learning English, he mentioned, adding that Spelling Bee can in a bigger way help the youth learn English.
Thanking teachers and students, he said it is the cooperation between teachers and students which has made the initiative successful. He hoped that the teachers would cooperate similarly this year.
Hafiz Ahmed, managing director of Faber Castell Bangladesh, and Syed Hammadul Karim, sub-regional COO of MetLife Alico, were present.
The champion speller will win a Tk 500,000 education policy and a trip to Washington DC, the city of Spelling Bee, with one parent. The first and second runner-ups will receive Tk 300,000 and Tk 200,000 education policies respectively.
Detailed information about the competition is available on www.champs21.com, the first e-learning portal of Bangladesh.