More than 100 Eastern Cape learners took over the province's legislature to participate in an inter-school debate competition recently.
The State of the Province Address Schools’ Debates competition, hosted jointly by the Office of the Premier and the provincial Department of Education, was aimed at fostering interest in government programmes for the youth and to improve learners’ public speaking abilities.
“The 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.
Participants were selected during regional competitions where they debated Premier Noxolo Kiviet’s State of the Province Address.
“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 Office of the Premier chief co-ordinator Nomfundo Nqinana.
Sipho Dlebusuku,15, a Grade 10 learner 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 Premier Kiviet and Education MEC Mandla Makupula for all participants, sets of encyclopedias, and trophies for the winning school and individual pupils.
-Sithembele Sakati, BuaNews