Short Message Service, otherwise known as SMS, has contributed immensely to the lowering of standards in Nigerian schools, especially at the primary and post primary levels.
The Cross River State Commissioner for Education, Mr. Godwin Ettah stated this at the weekend in Calabar during an annual spelling competition organized by Good Idea Youths Organization led by Rev. Fr. Kingsley Mgbojirikwe of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu, Imo State.
Ettah who was represented by the Director of Administration in the Ministry, Mr. Chris Abia, said the advent of SMS has drawn youths away from imbibing correct spellings as many youths have come to believe that abbreviating messages on phone is synonymous with correct spellings.
“Our educational system has been negatively affected by the use of SMS and this has created a difficult situation for managers in the sector because young people have attached themselves too much to abbreviated words on phone such that many do not even know the correct spelling of words,” Ettah said.
He thanked the Good Idea Youths Organization for trying to reawaken the consciousness of correct spellings among youths in secondary schools, saying the exercise would assist young people to acquaint themselves with the correct English words and their spellings.
“Competitions such as this have a great role to play in reawakening the consciousness of our young people to the correct English words as well as their correct spellings and it is hoped that a lot would be learnt during the competition,” Ettah noted.
Earlier, Rev. Fr. Mgbojirikwe had explained that his group undertook to organizing spelling competitions among secondary school students to revive the fading culture of reading as well as getting youths to understand and spell English words correctly. “Most people today make mistakes either in the spelling or pronunciation of words.
This is as a result of oversight in reading, laziness to read at all, negative impact of technology like abbreviations of words in sending messages or in chats,” Fr. Mgbojirikwe argued. At the end of the competition, Holy Family High School, Calabar, won the first prize while Saint Patricks College, Ikot Ansa, took the second position. St. Anns in Calabar South took the third position.