East London – This weekend over a hundred Eastern Cape pupils will take over the province’s legislature to participate in an inter-school debate competition.
The State of the Province Address Schools’ Debates competition, hosted jointly by the Office of the Premier and the provincial Education Department, is designed to foster interest in government programmes aimed at the youth.
“Provincial government is concerned about the non-participation and lack of interest among the youth in government programmes, which led to the competitions being introduced. The aim is to involve and expose young people to the work of government,” said spokesperson for the Office of the Premier Manelisi Wolela said.
He said this was the third year the competition was being held, the participants chosen during regional competitions where pupils debated Premier Noxolo Kiviet’s 2011 State of the Province Address.
Office of the Premier chief co-ordinator Nomfundo Nqinana said the debates were designed to enhance pupils’ public speaking abilities.
“These debates are also aimed at engaging children in activities that enhance their education. Debate and public speaking are very important, and we hope they carry this skill through to tertiary level,” said Nqinana.
Sipho Dlebusuku,15, a Grade 10 pupil from Enoch Sontonga Secondary School, said the competition was a great way of informing young people about how government works.
“I really hope that our school gets to participate in the competition. It is a big step towards grooming future leaders,” said Dlebusuku.
Staff and students from Fort Hare and Walter Sisulu Universities will also be involved in the competition, offering career guidance to the pupils.
Prizes include certificates signed by Kiviet and Education MEC Mandla Makupula for all participants, sets of encyclopedias, and trophies for the winning school and individual pupils.
Source: BuaNews – 1 March 2012