Dawn News

Spelling competitions for children

A FASCINATING competition – Scripps National Spelling Bee – is held every year for school students in the US. In the year 2012, which has just ended, it was won by an Indian-American girl, Snigdha Nandipati, whose parents come from Andhra Pradesh.

Those interested can see the video of the competition on the Internet. The prize money for the winner was about $40,000 along with some other benefits. The organisers plan to extend it to other parts of the world.

I feel such a competition should also be held in Pakistan as it would help in improving the standard of English in the country. One could also consider Urdu for this purpose. I have always enjoyed seeing it because I also make feeble attempts to try to match the participants.

An amazing fact about this competition is that Nandipati became the fifth consecutive Indian winner and 10 in the last 14 years, a run that began in1999,when another Indian Nupar Lala won and was later featured in a documentary Spellbound.

Why do Indians win so often? Is it a genetic factor? Almost all of them are South Indians, so this may be the case. It is more likely to be hard work and admiration for scholastic achievements. There is much to learn for the youth of Pakistan who are drawn more to sports. Of course, there is nothing wrong in this but this should be balanced with studies and scholarly work.

VIQAR ZAMAN Karachi


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Comments (3) Closed



Agha Ata
Aug 08, 2012 03:19am
"Spelling Bee" in English or "Hijje ki Makhi" in Urdu?
Asif Ansari
Aug 09, 2012 12:51am
Yes, very true.
Jehangir
Aug 09, 2012 01:06am
Actually among the Indian winners of spelling bee, roughly half of them are north Indians.