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Gov’t to hold school debate on climate change

By Michael Odeng

Added 6th December 2018 04:20 PM

The five-day event is slated to start on Monday next week at Mengo Senior School in Kampala.

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Magomu Mubaraka, Assistant Commissioner Patriotism Secretariat, Office of the President, addressing the press about the upcoming debate competitions at the Uganda Media Centre on December 06, 2018. Photo by Miriam Namutebi

The five-day event is slated to start on Monday next week at Mengo Senior School in Kampala.

By Cindy Aaca

EDUCATION| CLIMATE CHANGE

A total of 100 schools from different parts of the country are to participate in the national debate on climate change.

The event which will take place under the theme; “combating climate change through environmental protection, a patriotic call for all Ugandans” is organised by the Government in partnership with National Debate Council Uganda (NDCU).

The five-day event is slated to start on Monday next week at Mengo Senior School in Kampala.

Addressing journalists at Uganda Media Centre in Kampala, the commissioner in charge of monitoring and evaluation in the Office of the President, Mubarak Magomu said the debate is aimed at inculcating patriotic values and norms in order to develop resourceful, responsible, disciplined, and resilient citizens, who are committed to protecting the country’s resources.

The debate will be graced by the Minister of Education and Sports and First Lady, Janet Museveni and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, also an advocate of environment conversation.

“Environmental protection is central in patriotic values. We cannot claim to love our country when we are destroying the environment,” Magomu noted.

Magomu said the event is timely as the country's environment is at its most vulnerable level when most of the wetlands are being encroached on without the National Environmental Management Authority's (NEMA) intervention to protect them.

“We are taking the gospel of conservation to the young people in schools and allow them think of practical interventions to address the challenge. We have to change our mindset in order to protect the environment,” he said.

Magomu said the debate is an effective tool for self-assessment, critical thinking and communication.

“Once we get the leaders who are concerned about issues that affect the population then the country will develop rapidly,” he said.   

National Debate Council chairman Guster Kakaire noted that five debate academies were conducted in the districts of Mabarara, Arua, Mbale, Gulu and Kampala in May, to prepare teachers for the debate.

He noted that through the academies, teachers were trained in modern debate coaching and given insight on the theme.

He said between June and August 2018, a total of 18 regional debate qualifiers were conducted in 18 Ugandan districts involving 260 schools and 100 schools qualified for the national debate.

The schools are to compete for the national debate crown from December 9th -13th. The finals shall be hosted by hosted by Parliament.

Kakaire said it is important for young people to engage in such debates because they need to be given opportunity to propose initiatives and act on some of the challenges they face, adding that that is why they are promoting kaveera-free championship.

Christine Najjuuko Ddamba, the Mengo SS patron for the debate club said; “I am delighted to say Mengo Senior School, which has existed for 123 years is prepared to host the national debate, the first of its kind in the country.”

Last year, Mengo S S represented Uganda in the World Schools Debate Championship at Harvard University, USA and won.

Najjuuko said the school also started an African Debate Championship in 2018, in which over 12 countries participated and Rwanda emerged victorious.

She said the school with support from Government will provide accommodation and meals to the students in the course of the competition.

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