Miss Onitilo Deborah of New Chrisfield College, Ikorodu, Lagos State has won the 2018 Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition for secondary school students in Nigeria.

She emerged the overall best having scored 63% and 52% in the first and second round of the competition respectively.

Miss Ashley Davidson of Vivian Flower Memorial College for Girls who scored 62% and 49% in the first and second rounds, emerges as the second.

Master Ferdinand Esigbone Omagbemi, a student to Roshallom International Secondary School, Lagos came third after scoring 60% and 47% in the first and second round respectively, while the other winner is Miss Fagbemi Semilore Ireoluwa of Roshallom International School, Lagos.

Announcing the results, Prof. Akachi Ezeigbo, the Chief Examiner said; “After a Painstaking scrutiny, we adjudged only four as suitable for the 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, we must say, are just sufficient to enable the candidates to 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”. He added.

Ezeigbo also noted that the entries for 2018 contest were characterized by infractions, such as plagiarism or direct lifting of materials from the Internet repositories, copying from textbooks and other printed sourced, cases of collaboration among candidates and evidence that candidates might have received help from either their teachers or parents.

She said it was very easy to detect the infractions because the candidates use language above their educational level adding that in many cases, the originality of some entries was verified by conducting simple internet checks that finally confirmed that they contained significant portions of existing works.

She said; “as the Internet and Android phones have become basic infrastructures of knowledge production and transmission, our children must now 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.

“We recommend 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 the senior secondary school. 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.”

For coming top in this year’s competition, Miss Onitilo Deborah of New Chrisfield College, Ikorodu Lagos will get a cheque of N100,000, a personal laptop, a trophy, a plaque, while the school gets three sets of computer and a printer.

Miss Ashley Davidson of Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls, Ikeja, Lagos who came second will go home with a cheque of N75,000, a plaque and the school will get two sets of computer and a printer.

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