UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc yesterday commenced the 2020 edition of its annual National Essay Competition in Nigeria with a call for entries.
Now in its tenth year, the National Essay Competition (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, a statement from the bank explained.
This year’s edition 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 UBA Foundation has also increased the prize money for the 2020 edition of the NEC by 33 per cent as the first prize winner would get an educational grant of N2.5 million, up from N2 million in 2019.
The second and third prize winners would now receive N2 million and N1.5 million educational grants respectively, from N1.5 million and N1 million which were awarded in the previous year’s competition.
The Chief Executive Officer, UBA Foundation, Mrs. Bola Atta stated that with the newly introduced digital submission portal, more students in secondary schools across the country would 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 entries are to be handwritten and scanned copies of the entries as well as ID are to be uploaded 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.