English Olympiad

The English Olympiad

A SACEE project in association with the Grahamstown Foundation and sponsored by the DE BEERS CHAIRMAN’S FUND.

A background to the English Olympiad:

The English Olympiad first started as a small project in 1976 when Dr Malcolm Venter, a member of the Eastern Cape branch committee of SACEE (and now the Council’s National Chairperson) was asked to organise such an event locally. The first competition attracted 119 entries and the winner received a prize of R50.

The following year the Grahamstown Foundation agreed to take over the general administration of the SACEE English Olympiad and the competition was extended to cover the whole of the old Cape Province. The number of entries rose to 332 that year. In 1978, the Olympiad was further extended to include all parts of South Africa and the number of entries continued to rise substantially from then on. The 1982 Olympiad for example attracted 2,760 entries from 256 schools, a 45% increase from the previous year.

In 1985 De Beers came on board as the main sponsor of the SACEE English Olympiad. In 1995 SACEE decided to discard the existing ‘set text’ system and introduce a new ‘open book’ format. This allowed for a more theme-orientated approach. For the first time examiners were able to ask questions which were open-ended and which required p ersonal responses. This change proved to be extremely popular with a total of 4,115 entries being received that year. Two years later, 300 schools submitted a total of 4,676 entries between them and the competition has continued to grow every year since then.

SACEE is extremely proud of its English Olympiad project and grateful thanks go to the main sponsors, the De Beers Chairman’s Fund and to Rhodes University for its scholarship prizes to the top fifty winners. Further thanks go to the sponsors of cash prizes for the top twenty; which include the English Academy of Southern Africa, Maskew Miller, Longman Publishers and Monash SA. In addition, SACEE is most grateful to the Grahamstown Foundation for all the organisational work undertaken by them. The Eastern Cape branch of SACEE has remained entirely responsible for the academic side of the competition since its inception in 1976. Initially the academic input was provided by Dr Malcolm Venter but since his retirement from teaching, this has been taken over by Dr Diana Ayliff a member of the SACEE Eastern Cape branch who is ably assisted by an army of markers and administrative staff.

What is the ‘English Olympiad’?

The English Olympiad is an annual nationwide examination open to pupils in Grades 10, 11 and 12. Its aim is to enrich and deepen the candidates’ appreciation for the English language and its literature.

Read more:

  • Candidates are required to read and study a text that is compiled each year. This text is usually based on a theme such as “war”, “Shakespeare’s love poetry” or “School writing” and comes in the form of an anthology that might consist of just one genre such as drama or poetry, or a mixture of genres.
  • Although there is a rank order of the top one hundred candidates and huge prizes and bursaries for some of them, the Olympiad is more about participation and enrichment of all. What is looked for in the Olympiad is a critical, intelligent, individual response to the given works. It is not an examination where candidates can regurgitate notes or facts.
  • The prizes for the top candidates include cash prizes, books, book vouchers and scholarships. The top fifty winners are awarded scholarships by Rhodes University that largely cover their academic fees for their first year of study at the University. The top 15 enjoy a fully paid trip to the Schools’ Festival and the top three win cash prizes. The De Beers Chairman’s Fund is by far the largest sponsor of this Olympiad.
  • The closing date for entries is from mid September to early November each year and the examination is written in early March the following year.
For further details and how to enter, please contact
The Olympiad Officer, Tel: 046 – 603 1145 or 603 1107
Grahamstown Foundation, Fax: 046 – 622 7462 or 086 262 6048
P O Box 304, Grahamstown, E-mail: olympiad@foundation.org.za
6140

CALL FOR ENTRIES FOR 2018 DE BEERS ENGLISH OLYMPIAD

The English Olympiad, a joint venture of SACEE and the Grahamstown Foundation, is calling for entries for the 2018 Olympiad. Learners in Grades 8 to 10 (in 2018) are eligible to enter through their schools.

The theme for the 2018 English Olympiad is “War and Peace”, and the anthology is entitled We will Remember Them.  This year, the anthology consists solely of a selection of poetry relating to war times, and a language section which focuses on the language of propaganda.

To enter the 2018 English Olympiad, you can download the 2018 Call for Entries here AND download the 2018 Entry Form here.

For more details go to their website:  www.saenglisholympiad.org.za


2017 English Olympiad-Exam

The Grahamstown Foundation and the South African Council for English Education (SACEE) have announced the rank order of the top 100 English Olympiad winners at an official prize giving ceremony held in Grahamstown on Wednesday 12 July 2017. The English Olympiad is an annual English competition that drew more than 7800 Home Language and First Additional Language (FAL) entries this year from 383 high schools throughout South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and Mozambique. This prestigious competition has been running since 1976 and is organised jointly by the Grahamstown Foundation and the South African Council for English Education (SACEE). It has been sponsored by De Beers since 1985.

On 1st March this year, entrants from Grades 10 to 12, wrote the three-hour examination. The theme this year was “Then and Now”.  The anthology, compiled by the South African Council for English Education and entitled “Staying Alive” consisted of poetry, prose, plays and short stories by South African writers whose early works were published in English Alive, which, in 2017, celebrates its 50th year publishing the writing of young South Africans. The anthology explored some of the early works by these writers alongside some of their later writing.

Chief Examiner, Maxine Ward-Cox, said she was highly impressed by the candidate’s ability to grasp the issues and produce thought proving answers: “The questions were fairly demanding and required a thorough knowledge of the texts and an awareness of the issues raised by the authors. Candidates showed an ability to grasp these issues, and express their opinions in wellstructured and focused answers. Most answers were original and thought-provoking”.

 2017 English Olympiad Winners!

Back row: Gerhard Woithe, Grey High School; Catherine Bloy, Epworth High School; Dennis Buckland, Rondebosch Boys High School; Anya Fries, Roedean School; Montana Cohen, Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard; Kiara Govender, Northlands Girls’ High School; Emily Macgregor, St Andrews School for Girls; Jenna Beavon, Parel Vallei High School.

Front row: Julian Yeates, St Dominics School for Girls (5th place); Sarah Martinson, Roedean School (2nd place); Shraya Moodley, Epworth High School (1st place); Abigail Sieberhagen, Pearson High School (3rd place); Leah Macdonald, Clarendon High School for Girls (4th place).

2017 English Olympiad TOP 20 Announced in RANK ORDER!

Rank

Title

First name

Last name

School

1

Ms

Shraya

Moodley

Epworth High School

2

Ms

Sarah

Martinson

Roedean School

3

Ms

Abigail

Sieberhagen

Pearson High School

4

Ms

Leah

Macdonald

Clarendon High School for Girls

5

Ms

Julian

Yeates

St Dominics School for Girls

6

Ms

Sabrina

Loubser

Ashton Ballito College

7

Mr

Gerhard

Woithe

Grey High School

8

Ms

Jenna

Beavon

Parel Vallei High School

9

Ms

Emily

Macgregor

St Andrews School for Girls

10

Ms

Kiara

Govender

Northlands Girls High School

11

Ms

Amy

Kane

The Kings College & Preparatory

12

Ms

Montana

Cohen

Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard

13

Ms

Anya

Fries

Roedean School

14

Mr

Dennis

Buckland

Rondebosch Boys High School

15

Ms

Catherine

Bloy

Epworth High School

16

Ms

Elizabeth

Fairall

Springfield Convent

17

Ms

Jessica

Freedman

Epworth High School

18

Ms

Jessica

Gordon

The Kings College & Preparatory

19

Ms

Amy

Finlayson

Pretoria High School for Girls

20

Ms

Anja

Cloete

Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool

2017 First Additional Language (FAL) 15 Top  in RANK ORDER!

Rank

Title

First Name

Surname

School

1

Ms

Karla

van Dyk

Hoërskool Garsfontein

2

Ms

Nina

Cuyler

Gymnasium High School, Paarl

3

Ms

Leandri

Van den Hever

Ferdinand Postma High School

4

Mr

Marco

Marais

Otto du Plessis High School

5

Ms

Clementine

Sago

Maths and Science Leadership Academy

6

Ms

Lisa

Victor

Oudtshoorn High School

7

Ms

Timara

Lourens

Brackenfell High School

8

Ms

Asma

Nakedar

Mbilwi Secondary School

9

Ms

Wamkelwa

Duma

Little Flower Combined School

10

Mr

Ryno

Bornman

Ferdinand Postma High School

11

Ms

Noxolo

Phillips

Maths and Science Leadership Academy

12

Mr

Seakgathi

Manthata

Dendron Secondary School

13

Ms

Nafisa

Roza

Machabeng College, Lesotho

14

Mr

Samkelo

Zwakala

Maths and Science Leadership Academy

15

Ms

Monique

Diergraadt

Maths and Science Leadership Academy

A complete list of the Top 100 in rank order is available on the following website: www.SAenglisholympiad.org.za

The competition also focuses on assisting and enriching learners from communities where De Beers operates through the Olympiad English Development Initiative (EDI). This year, 531 learners from 12 EDI schools entered the Olympiad.

Phillip Barton, CEO of DBCM, the long- term supporter of the English Olympiad stated: “It is inspiring and remarkable to see the numbers of participants in the EDI programme increasing every year. In partnership with the Kimberley based Maths and Science Leadership Academy, EDI is an expansive and inclusive component of the Olympiad, practically helping learners in schools in the mining communities associated with De Beers enjoy the benefits of the Olympiad and increasing confidence in the use of English in these communities. Importantly this support is also adding some fun by providing an opportunity for learners to compete at a national level.”

He added, “On behalf of De Beers, I wish to congratulate Grade 12 learner, Thembeka Mzimba, from the Maths and Science Leadership Academy in Kimberley who made it into the Top 100 of the Home Language examination out of 5379 learners that wrote the examination. We are also proud of the five candidates from the Maths and Science Leadership Academy and Dendron High School, who made it to the Top 15 of the First Additional Language examination, which was written by 970 candidates countrywide.”

Click here for the official press release for July 2017