Sierra Leone: Western Area Tops National Schools Debate

Team Western Area Urban has won the 2016 National Schools Debate Competition, organised by the National Youth Commission (NAYCOM) with support from Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

The three day event was organised by NAYCOM for schools in Moyamba, Kenema, Port Loko and Western Area Rural and Urban.

The debate took place at Miatta Conference Centre, themed: 'Enhancing youth civic engagement in democratic process in Sierra Leone'.

Debaters for Team Western Area were Alex A. Bah from the Services Secondary School; James Fortune from the Government Secondary Technical School; and Sylvester Shaw from the St. Edwards Secondary School.

Teams Western Area and Kenema district made it to the final round of the competition, while Teams Moyamba and Port Loko dropped off at the initial round.

The motion for the final round of the debate was 'National service should be made compulsory for all school leavers.'

While Team Western Area spoke on the affirmative view, Team Kenema spoke on the negative constructive view.

While making their submissions, team leader and first affirmative speaker from Team Western Area, Sylvester Shaw, argued that if national service was made compulsory it would help enhance human resource capacity building and bolster national development.

Shaw said national service would inspire change and development in the country and across Africa, promote patriotism and provide job experience and embrace modernisation.

The negative constructive speakers from Kenema were Lucy Christian Bockarie from Holy Rosary Secondary School; Mamoud Sheriff and Nyuma Senesi from Kenema Secondary School.

They argued that national service should not be made compulsory as such would amount to a violation of human rights and also create chaos in society.

Sheriff also argued that if national service was made compulsory for all school leavers, thus compelling them to serve in national institutions, it would lead to incompetence and unprofessionalism, waste of time and resources and destroy the career of school leavers.

After tough deliberation by both teams on the motion, Western Area Urban emerged as the best district to scoop a cash prize of Le500,000. Second place Kenema district took home a cash prize of Le400,000, while third place Moyamba district received a cash prize of Le300,000 and fourth place Port Loko district got Le200,000.

Alex A. Bah from Services Secondary School was adjudged as the first best debater and received an individual prize of Le2 million, while Sylvester Shaw received cash prize of Le1.5 million as the second best debater. Also, James Fortune from Government Secondary Technical School took home an individual prize of Le1 million.

About 50 debaters from five districts received certificates of participation, school bags, rechargeable solar lights, exercise books and other learning materials.

Source: Concord Times.

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