ASiS International Essay Writing Competition 2016
SM Sains Alam Shah (Alam Shah Science School), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (ASiS) in collaboration with the Malaysian Nature Society and BirdLife International. The Malaysian Nature Society is the global partner of BirdLife International in Malaysia.
Theme: Conserving Our Natural Heritage – Birds: A Global Perspective
Birds with their power of flight have had a great advantage over other animals in being able to travel great distances over natural geographical barriers and international boundaries to new foraging grounds. For thousands of years, birds have been an integral part of the culture of many communities worldwide. They range in size from the mighty ostrich to the tiny hummingbird. They also come in different shapes, sizes, and colour. Many are accomplished songsters and others are dressed in an array of dazzling and colourful plumages. According to Avibase, the world bird database, there are approximately 10,000 species of birds with approximately another 22,000 subspecies. They occur throughout the world in tropical, temperate, and the polar regions Throughout the centuries, especially in the 19th and 20th, many species of birds have had their populations declining, with some becoming extinct due to habitat loss and overhunting and trapping by man. More recently the consumption of dead livestock treated by veterinary drugs by vultures has caused huge populations of old world vultures in both Asia and Africa to decline rapidly, pushing some of them to critically endangered levels. The Dodo Raphus cucullatus of Mauritius became extinct around 1662 when settlers hunted it and introduced invasive animals which competed with it for habitat and food. It is the earliest recorded species of a bird which became extinct. Today it is the symbol of extinction, hence the phrase “As dead as a Dodo’. Other species which became extinct in the 20th century include the once numerous Passenger Pigeon Ectopistes migratorius and the Carolina Parakeet Conuropsis carolinensis. Many other once numerous species such as the Eskimo Curlew Numenius borealis have been reduced to the status of critically endangered. The latest addition to the list of extinct birds is the Alaotra Grebe Tachybaptus rufolavatus in 2010. It is man who has the power to rectify the situation and plan new strategies to conserve birds and other wildlife together with their habitats so as to prevent the further decline and extinction of species.
Topics for the Senior Category (16-18 years)
1. Bird habitats are fast disappearing as we move into the 21st century. Give examples of disappearing bird habitats in your country or region and the current efforts taken to preserve them and their associated birdlife.
2. Describe one or some of the endangered species of birds in your country. Discuss its/ their global conservation status and as a school student, give suggestions on how your country’s law makers, non-governmental organizations, educational establishments, and international conservation organizations, can pool their resources to ensure its / their long term survival. You are also encouraged to give other relevant suggestions of your own.
3. Describe an Important Bird Area (IBA) in your country, its birdlife as well as its contribution to national and global conservation.
4. Many species of birds migrate from their temperate breeding grounds during autumn southwards to warmer latitudes, returning north along well defined routes or flyways to breed in the spring of the following year. Along these routes are staging sites where migrants stop to rest and feed before resuming these tedious journeys. Describe the process of bird migration and some of the migratory birds which winter or breed in your country, the flyways in your country and region, as well as principal staging sites along these migratory routes. Emphasize why it is very important to protect the habitats within these staging sites together with those in both their breeding and wintering grounds.
Topics for the Junior Category (12-15 years)
1. A world without birds is indeed a lonely world. Describe your feelings in the light of this statement.
2. What is the national bird of your country? Describe its significance and what it means to you and your country. (Official birds of states and provinces may also be considered for this question).
3. What is your favourite bird? Describe it and tell us why you like it. (For the purposes of this question, you may also choose a bird which does not occur in your country).
4. Birds should always be free and should not be kept as pets in captivity. Suggest ways to convince mankind not to do so and hence help to stop both the legal and illegal global trade in wild birds.
24 March 2016
– Launch of the Essay Writing Competition
24 March – 30 June 2016
– The duration of the competition
30 June 2016
– Deadline for submissions.
01 July – 31 August 2016
– Processing of all entries
01 September 2016
– The 30 shortlisted participants from each category will be announced on the website
01 September – 01 October
– Evaluating the final entries from each category.
10 October 2016
– The top three award winning entries and the next seven best entries (consolation) for both the senior and junior categories will be announced on the website.
28 October 2016
– Closing and Presentation of certificates to the eligible entrants who are able to attend
The ASiS International Essay Writing Competition 2016 (AIWC) would like to hear the views of school students worldwide on the conservation of birds and their habitats and the repercussions on wild bird populations worldwide resulting from habitat destruction, hunting, and trapping, as well as efforts undertaken to combat these. In this respect, prospective participants are encouraged to:
Give a clear cut definition of the issue at hand in the questions chosen.
Give your perceptions of the situation globally or in your respective countries, or both.
Outline the roles of the government, non-governmental organizations, global conservation organizations, educational establishments, and the people in efforts to instil love and respect for the rights of birds as the rightful determiners of their own destinies.
Focus on one or more programmes in your country or globally to instil awareness on bird conservation and the efforts to put an end to habitat loss, hunting, and trapping.
We would also encourage you to draw on your personal experiences when possible and focus on providing your own creative solutions to ensure the inculcation of moral values among the citizens of your country and the efforts to put a stop to hunting, trapping, and the trade in bird species, especially the endangered ones.
Entrants are strongly advised to read the terms and conditions as well as the frequently asked questions before writing your essays.
Terms and conditions
1. This competition is open to nationals or residents of all countries throughout the world.
2. There is no entry fee.
3. There are two categories, senior and junior. Participants must select a junior or senior topic depending on their age on 30 June 2016. If you are between the ages of 16 and 18 on this date you are eligible for the senior category and if you are between the ages of 12 and 15, you are then eligible to participate in the junior category.
4. There are four topics in each category. Eligible participants may only submit one work.
5. All work must be submitted by individuals, group work is not allowed.
6. Your essay must not exceed 1500 words for the senior category, and 750 words for the junior category. There is however a recommended minimum of 1200 words for the senior category and 600 words for the junior category. Citation of references and inclusion of charts or diagrams will not count into the total number of words in your essay.
7. All entries must be submitted together with the official entry form which can be downloaded from the website.
8. Essays are accepted only on MS Word Document, using Arial, font size 12. Other formats will be considered provided they can be converted to MS Word. For grading and compilation purposes we prefer that you not send your work in the pdf format.
9. Submissions will be accepted until 30 June 2016.
10. All essays must be in English.
11. Submissions must be sent in MS Word document via email attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org for the Senior Category and email@example.com for the Junior Category, and must be together with the official entry form AIWC -2016 – PARTICIPATION. Please also include your postal / mailing address.
12. Please fill in your name in the official entry form only. Do not include your name in the essay.
13. Participants must provide the names and websites of their respective schools only in the entry form when submitting their entries.
14. If quotes and references are included, you are encouraged to clearly mark these throughout the essay and properly cite them.
15. All submissions must be original. No previously published material will be accepted. Please do not copy chunks of text from the internet and paste them in your essays. ANY FORM OF PLAGIARISM WILL RESULT IN AUTOMATIC DISQUALIFICATION
16. The Organizer reserves the right to publish and / to make available to the public the winning submissions.
17. The decision of the jury is final and is not subject to an appeal.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the deadline for submissions?
The deadline for submissions is 30 June 2016. Work submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
2. How do I submit?
The submission process is very simple. Essays must be submitted on MS Word (Arial, font size 12) via email attachment. Other formats are allowed provided they can be converted to MS Word. Avoid pdfs.
3. Who is eligible to participate?
This essay writing competition is open for school students from all countries throughout the world. College (except junior college and pre-university) and university students are not eligible to participate.
4. I am just under 12 or just over 18 – can I still participate?
This competition is intended only for school students between 16 – 18 years of age in Category A and 12-15 years in Category B. If you are between ages 16 and 19 on 30 June 2016, you are eligible to participate in the Senior Category. No exceptions will be granted. If you are 18 years and 1 day on that date, you are still eligible, so long as you don’t reach 19 years. Those who are 15 years and 11 months will not be considered for the senior category as you have not reached 16 years. If you are between the ages of 12-16 on 30 June 2016, you are eligible to participate in the Junior Category. If you are 11 years and 11 months on that day you will not be eligible to participate in the Junior Category as you have not reached 12 years.
5. Can I write on more than one topic?
No, you can only submit one essay each, which means you have to choose one of the four topics in your respective category.
6. In what language shall I submit my work?
This essay can only be written in English.
7. Am I allowed to include graphs, tables, or diagrams in my essay?
Yes, you are welcome (but not obliged) to include the mentioned. The content will not count into the total number of words in your essay. Please make sure you explain what each graph, table, or diagram represents.
8. Is there a word limit for the essays?
Yes, different word count rules apply to both Senior and Junior Categories. See Terms and conditions for more details.
9. Should I put my name, age, school, and country on my essay?
No please do not do this. All relevant details are to be written only in the entry form which can be downloaded from the website. You may only write the topic number and topic on your essay.
10. What are the evaluation criteria for the submissions?
Essays will be graded for their structure and coherence, originality and creativity and the use of thoughtful and concrete proposals.
– A bird conservation book worth GBP30.00 and a distinguished award certificate.
– A bird conservation book worth GBP25.00 and a distinguished award certificate.
– A bird conservation book worth GBP20.00 and a distinguished award certificate.
Seven consolation prizes of a bird conservation book each worth GBP 15.00 and a merit award certificate.
– A bird conservation book worth GBP20.00 and a distinguished award certificate.
– A bird conservation book worth GBP15.00 and a distinguished award certificate.
– A bird conservation book worth GBP12.00 and a distinguished award certificate.
Seven consolation prizes of a bird conservation book each worth GBP 10.00 and a merit award certificate.
Certificates of participation will also be awarded to the twenty participants from each category who qualified for the final evaluation but did not win any prize.
Some useful websites
E-mail: Please send all general inquiries regarding both categories of the competition to : firstname.lastname@example.org
SM Sains Alam Shah
Jalan Yaacob Latif
Bandar Tun Razak
56000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Telephone : +603 91315014
Fax : +603 91318119
website : www.asiskl.org/aiwc2016