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HYDERABAD: A large number of contestants with bright and shining faces entered the Mumtaz Mirza auditorium to take part actively in the 14th Dawn in Education National Spelling Bee Hyderabad round (Hyderabad district) on Friday, the competition’s second day.

They held the audience spellbound while spelling out difficult but common words and receiving loud applause throughout the programme.

The two-day competition was organised by Dawn Media Group, held at the auditorium in Sindh Museum Hyderabad, where more than 500 participants, including contesting teams, their class-fellows, teachers, parents and guardians, thronged the hall from 9am to 3pm.

Contesting teams from more than 30 public and private schools belonging to Hyderabad participated in the competition. They were divided into three age groups — 9-11, 12-14 and 15-17.

When pronouncer Momin articulated words including ultimatum, descend, engagement, ministry, committee and others, eager contestants replied to words by spelling them out quickly; a few students who seemed to be a little nervous entreated the pronouncer to repeat the words.

In the end, winners which were declared consisted of the City School Jinnah campus Hyderabad for 9-11 and 15-17 groups and County Cambridge School Hyderabad for 12-14 group. The winners would qualify for the regional championship to be held in Karachi soon.

Speaking as chief guest of the programme, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Hyderabad range Sultan Khowaja advised schoolteachers to keep students away from smartphones and tablets so that they could focus on their actual reading skills and achieve their goals successfully. He said the competition reminded him of the same sweet memories of his student life when he was in Cadet College Petaro.

He said that it was a great pleasure for him to be chief guest.

“It is a unique programme which prompts students to memorise correct words and their meanings. Without education, our survival is impossible,” University of Sindh Controller of Examinations Ghulam Murtaza Siyal said while speaking as judge of the programme.

He said standard of education in Sindh was deteriorating.

Meanwhile, the DIG distributed certificates among winning and contesting teams of schools and encouraged them.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2018