As access to education has continued to be achieved, Eritrea starts to look ways of making sure academic excellence is realized. To encourage students achieve more and more excellence in their academic carrier, a number of excellence awards have been introduced. Each of the awards of academic excellence introduced at a regional level and more significantly Zagre National Award of Excellence have been very instrumental towards encouraging students succeed with more diligence.
The different awards introduced in different regions of the country are named after different cultural practices or the words chosen to be names of the awards of excellence have a cultural value. Fi’ema Award of Excellence given to students who completed their junior school or their 11th grade with flying colors is, for instance, named after a youths gathering whose responsibility is to engage itself in acts of benevolence and as a means to law enforcement. The other academic excellence awards like Tamfeda in Gash-Barka, Shalot in Anseba, and Mendela’y in Northern Red Sea regions are instances like that of Southern Red sea Region’s Fi’ema.
All the awards of excellence are introduced for the same target of achieving academic excellence in all levels of education throughout the nation. All of the academic excellence awards have their own backgrounds and each of them have their own pace of development. Having a look at Shalot Academic Excellence Award of the Anseba region alone could give a clue about the importance of encouraging students with such like awards.
Academic excellence award of the Anseba region was introduced in 2005 to encourage students who completed their 11th grade with impressive marks achieve more and to those lagging behind follow the footsteps of the outstanding students. The award was, for the first two years, confined in encouraging student by just making them visit different historic and cultural places of the country.
It is the encouraging outcome of such an earlier award that makes Shalot come into being. The much bigger award of excellence named Shalot was then introduced in 2007 with the collaboration of regional offices of the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students (NUEYS), the Ministry of Education and the Administration of Anseba Region. Since its very start, a total of 236 students the 56 of whom are female students have become winners. Student who scored above 90 marks are legible for Shalot. But, how encouraging has Shalot been? Have Shalot winners succeeded in their 12th grade? Has the overall target of Shalot been met? These are indeed significant questions that deserve actual answer.
According to reports from the Anseba Region, 56% of the envisaged goal have been achieved for 92.6% of Shalot winners have scored results that would enable them pursue their education at degree level. Shalot which was once given to students from 9 secondary schools of the Anseba region has now, with the inclusion three private schools, raised to 12. The number of female students who become legible for Shalot has also increased with an increase along with their participation in schools.
This year’s Shalot was delivered to 44 students that comprise 11 female students. Four of the female winners are students from Adi-Tekelezan Sub-zone. The award giving ceremony was conducted under the theme “Shalot Get way for Upcoming Success.”
During the awarding ceremony, Mr. Luji Husien Head of NUEYS of the Anseba Region, said that encouraging students starting from the early stage and sustaining such encouragement at each phase of their educational carrier stands as an epitome to the efforts that have been exerted by NUEYS and the Ministry of Education. Mr. Mohammed Omar, Representative of Education Ministry’s branch office in the Anseba Region on his part said that every success deserves encouragement and it is through this constructive engagement and not by strict rules or punishments such like success could be achieved.
Jemal Ibrahim with an average point of 97.5 is an outstanding student to achieve Shalot as first ranker from the entire region. Jemal completed his primary and junior education at Himmbol Ketet in kerkebet sub-zone. He then continued his secondary school education in Asmat Boarding school. As regards his achievement Jemal said that one is lucky enough to get educated in a boarding school which is a perfect place to make any student get tuned only with academic matters alone.
Feven Ghezae from Keren Secondary School is also among the outstanding students. She gives attribute of her success to her parents support and to her teachers alike, but above all to the efforts she exerted to achieve this.
The academic excellence that has been witnessed in different parts of the country is really encouraging. To one’s wonder the students who have been scoring good results are from humble backgrounds. Habero sub-zone is among the hard-to- reach areas of the country and is more likely to have less institutions of social service. The only school in this sub-zone gives only primary education. Hence, the inhabitants of this sub-zone need to go to Aretai which is 45 km away. Omar Ismail is among those who should pursue their education away from their locality for about six years. Despite challenges, he finally concludes his secondary school education and wins Shalot with an average result of 93.3.
Mr. Wledeslasie Ghide, Director of Asmat Boarding School, said that the air of competitiveness created for the students has a tremendous importance and there would be a sustained support on the part of teachers so as to compliment parents’ unrelenting efforts and thus to achieve that desired goal.
In this year’s Shalot, Asmat Boarding School has kept its position to be a winner for three consecutive years. All winners of Shalot received their prizes from Mr. Tekie Keleta, Adminstrator of Keren City and from Mr. Awelkier Ibrahim, head of political organization of the NUEYS of the Anseba Region.