The Project Coordinator, SPELLIT, Mr. Rotimi Eyitayo, has said that apart from the formal classroom education, pupils should develop effective public speaking skills to build their confidence.

Eyitayo, who spoke at the 2009/2010 Lagos State finals of the SPELLIT competition in Lagos, said good communication skills could distinguish any individual from his or her peers in spite of their academic performance.

He stated that competitions like SPELLIT and SPELLING BEE competition were aimed at providing pupils between the ages of 7 and 14 with the opportunity to participate in a positive, competitive spelling exchange that could improve their English Language, spelling capabilities, comprehension and inter-personal skills.

He said, ' English is our Lingua Franca, that's what we speak in all our schools, every exam has an essay part, if you do not know the root of the words you are using, then you could be doing a lot of damage to your writing, so we need to develop pupils' English vocabulary from a young age.'

According to him, the competition is open to all interested private and public schools in Nigeria. This he said, was a move to showcase the talent of pupils and also to give an equal playing ground to pupils.

He said, 'The name of your school does not define you, we want to give equal opportunities to all interested pupils. For a nation to grow, it must build a network of young people with self esteem, confidence and role models, irrespective of their status.'

Eyitayo stated that these competitions could help improve Nigerian pupils' performance in English in the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination.

'It is time for us to solve the problem in the educational sector which needs a facelift, and the change we desire should start from us – the educationists, the pupils and the parents. This competition is not for a prize, it's for the love of English,' he said.

He stated that the Zonal competition in Lagos was to select top 20 schools in both the primary and secondary school category, who would be participating in the finals later this month.

Schools that participated at the competition included the Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Methodist High school, Vivian Fowler College, and CMS Grammar School.