National schools debate returns
Posted Wednesday, December 11 2013 at 11:52
Improved. According to the National Debate Council, unlike the previous debates, students have been trained and one feels the difference in the articulation of ideas this year .
“I am not scared of the so-called big schools, I am not even scared that I am a Senior One student tussling it out with some of Uganda’s best. All I want is the trophy to cross the Nile and if it doesn’t, at least they will believe Arua has serious brains,” says Idarus Pajobo, a Senior One student of St Joseph’s College Ombachi in Arua.
Perhaps the youngest debater in this year’s edition of the national schools debate championship, Pajobo this week joined more than 200 other students from different parts of the country at Trinity College Nabingo to debate the theme, “National Cohesion”.
The judges have their task cut out for them as the tournament, introduced in 2009 by the National Debate Council (NDC), has presented some of Uganda’s youngest and finest intellectual showdown that sees victors represent the country on the international stage. By Monday, the debate had picked pace with the topic on how schools can foster national cohesion, attracting fairly radical and intriguing propositions.
A debate between King’s College Budo and Maryhill High School almost turned into a drama scene.
“How many westerners are in cabinet? How many jobs are given on the basis of religion? Do you know that you are not informed? Do you know that you are a liar? Do you know that you are an intellectual liability to Uganda?” asked a Budo debater rapidly, questions to which the almost breaking down Maryhill student had no response.
Often times, the debate took to a show of class with swanky smart phones, I-pads and galaxy tabs coming in handy for information sourcing, a battle of accents, polished spoken English and knowledge of current affairs, with traditional schools striving to defend their territory.
In 2011, Sacred Heart SS Gulu beat off stiff competition from top city schools to carry the coveted trophy up country.
2009 saw Ali Muzamiru, a visually impaired student from Mvara SS make headlines for emerging best debater.
The students use the Karl Popper format, a more intellectually engaging and stimulating debate style that pits the affirmatives against the negatives. Either side has strictly one hour or less to prove their case, with the motions for debate being announced a few minutes into action. The best two schools will face-off at Parliament on tomorrow.
The tournament was opened by Col Henry Matsiko, the chief of patriotism clubs in the office of the President.
He beseeched the debaters to emulate South African icon, Nelson Mandela’s selflessness if national cohesion is to come to life in Uganda.