Morgan Noronha of Galaxy International School(L) and Luyomba Abbas from Iganga SS(R). Photo/Courtesy
The travel bags are packed. The passports are ready. A team of four students is ready to fly out on Sunday to contest in the World Schools Debating Championship in Indonesia. The competition takes place from August 1st to 11th.
The World Schools Debating Championship, which attracts high school students from around the world, is the biggest and one of the most prestigious debate championships in the world.
Over 90 teams from 90 different countries around the world will converge in the Asian country for the championship. Each national team consists of between three to five debaters.
The National Debate Council (NDC) of Uganda is leading out the team to the championship, which is held on a rotation basis.
Luyombo Abbas of Iganga SS, Denis Musinguzi of Gombe SS, Muyenga High School’s Sajid Marukh and Morgan Noronha of Galaxy International School make up “Team Uganda.” Gasta Kakaire, the Executive Director of National Debate Council explains how the team was chosen.
“This team is mainly selected from the prestigious national schools debate championship organised annually by NDC and hosted by Parliament every December. Top debaters at this championship are selected to the National Team. The team has two speakers from this championship,” explains Kakaire.
“However for as much inclusiveness as possible, we also look at outstanding debaters from other smaller competitions and this year, on this team (one debater), and again for inclusiveness of international schools in the local debate program, we have included one debater from an international school. This young debater brings international exposure to the team where some teammates are traveling out of Uganda for the first time.”
Sponsorship for such international events though, remains a challenge for the NDC, funding is not catered for by government. The council depends on parents of debaters, their schools and well-wishers to sponsor debaters to such events.
Kakaire wants government to do more to support the dying debating culture in schools.
“We still continue to appeal to government departments directly involved with schools and the Parliament Committee on Education to lobby to have this ‘mental sport’ budgeted for just like ‘physical sport’ and Music, Dance and Drama,” he argues.