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Creativity, verve waning among students, don laments

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Winner, Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition 2018, Miss. Onitilo Deborah (left); First runner up, Miss. Ashley Davidson; Chief Examiner, Prof. Akachi Ezeigbo; Second runner up, Esigbone Omagbemi; and Miss Fagbemi Semilore Ireoluwa.


• As winners emerge in Mike Okonkwo national essay competition

Eminent scholar, Prof Akachi Ezeigbo has expressed concern over the dwindling rate of creativity and originality among students and called for urgent measures to address the trend. Ezeigbo who was the Chief Examiner at the recently concluded 15th Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition for Secondary School Students in Nigeria said the best four entries only qualified the candidates for grades within the ‘b’ range, an indication that the verve, creativity and imagination in past performances are whittling down.

According to the chief examiner, after a painstaking scrutiny, only four are adjudged suitable for invitation to the second stage of the competition, which is basically a confirmatory procedure to verify the integrity of the original submission. “The content and structure of the four entries are sufficient to enable the candidates score grades within the ‘B’ range. The implication of this is that the verve, creativity and imagination that we have seen in past performances are beginning to whittle down, even though enthusiasm to take part continues to rise”.

“The entries for 2018 are characterised by the usual infractions such as confirmed incidences of plagiarism or direct lifting of materials from internet repositories, copying from textbooks and other printed sources, proven cases of collaboration among candidates and evidence that candidates might have received help from either of their teachers or parents. The infractions are easily detected because the candidates use language above their educational stations. In many cases, we verified originality of entries by conducting a simple internet check and found many containing significant portions of existing works.

“As the internet and android phones have become basic infrastructures of knowledge production and transmission, our children must be made to understand that there are regulations concerning the extent to which they can claim materials domiciled in those spaces of learning. They need to be taught early enough how much they can extract from existing materials without infringing on copyright rules. “She then recommended that rudimentary lessons on the rules of proper writing, how to acknowledge the materials consulted and the consequences of plagiarism should form part of the curriculum of senior secondary school.

According to him, learning these rules early enough will ensure they do not develop and carry with them the habit of lifting materials from the Internet to higher institutions.”Miss Onitilo Deborah of New Chrisfield College, Ikorodu, Lagos has emerged the overall winner of the 2018 Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition for Secondary School students in Nigeria with 63 and 52 percent scores in the first and second rounds of the competition.

The second position goes to Miss Ashley Davidson of Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls, Ikeja, who scored 62 in the first round and 49 percent in the second round while Esigbone Omagbemi Ferdinand of Roshallom International Secondary School, Lagos came third. He scored 60 in the first round and 47 percent in the second round. The other winner is Miss Fagbemi Semilore Ireoluwa of Roshallom International School, Lagos.

This year’s winner would receive a cash reward of N100, 000, a personal Laptop, trophy and plaque while the school gets three sets of computer and a printer. The first runner up would go home with a cheque of N75, 000 and a plaque while the school will get two sets of computer and a printer. For emerging the second runner up, Ferdinand would be rewarded with N50, 000 and a plaque while the school gets a computer set. The other winner will get a consolation price of N20, 000.

The prizes will be presented at this year’s Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture, billed for the Shell Hall Muson Center, Onikan, Lagos, on Wednesday September 5, 2018.The lecture, titled “Nigeria’s unity: Matters arising” will be delivered by eminent lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) while President General, Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo would chair the event.


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