Far back before war interrupted the state of normalcy in the Acholi sub-region, every Friday afternoon of the school year was set aside for organized debate. Topics like “mother is better than father,” were vehemently argued as students learned the skill of critical thinking. Sadly, this culture has rapidly dwindled in post-conflict Northern Uganda.
Most schools lack an active debating club, so to rekindle the love of healthy debate, Invisible Children’s (IC) Legacy Scholarship Program (LSP) staff organized a debate competition for 20 secondary schools in the region.
“True democracy is impracticable in our contemporary society,” was the motion that brought teams from two schools to Gulu High for the competition last week. Honorable Ongaya Daniel, co-judge at the competition between Gulu High and Gulu College (both secondary schools) set the pace for the speakers. He described debating as being not only interactive, but also a way to empower the young generation to think outside the box.
Lack of preparation and word pronunciation were the main areas that judges identified for students to improve. On the other hand, judges commended the speakers’ maturity, enthusiasm, confidence and intelligence as they left the audience impressed with their arguments on democracy.
“In my view, debating is vital to a child’s education. It promotes communication skills and encourages creative thinking abilities,” Chairperson Yeko George explained.
Gulu High emerged the winner with 521 points, whereas Gulu College gathered 446 points. The journey for Gulu High will continue when they head to the quarterfinals in the coming weeks.
Congratulations to the debaters and schools for inspiring young talents to participate!
-Germina & Eric