Win­ner ofYoung De­baters in Nige­ria Emerges

THISDAY - - EDUCATION -

Mary Ekah

A se­nior sec­ondary three (SS3) stu­dent of Holy Child Col­lege, La­gos, Adetola Ajayi, 16, has emerged win­ner of the maiden edi­tion of the Younger De­baters in Nige­ria com­pe­ti­tion and will be rep­re­sent­ing Nige­ria at the In­ter­na­tional Public Speak­ing Com­pe­ti­tion (IPSC) in Lon­don.

Or­gan­ised by Young Ed­u­ca­tors Foun­da­tion, the com­pe­ti­tion, which made a de­but in Nige­ria, has held for eight sea­sons in Ghana and the or­gan­is­ers have, over the years, been send­ing par­tic­i­pants to take part in the IPSC in Lon­don, UK since 2000. The grand fi­nale, which held re­cently at the Stan­dard Bear­ers Schools, Lekki, fea­tured stu­dents from var­i­ous schools in La­gos.

The Pro­gramme Di­rec­tor, Mr. Akinl­eye Olu-Philips, ex­plained that Young De­baters “is a public speak­ing com­pe­ti­tion that in­cul­cates the ba­sic im­per­a­tive of ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion, ul­ti­mately im­pact­ing im­proved lead­er­ship skills, de­vel­op­ment of poise and ac­cu­rate word us­age.

“It al­lows stu­dents to de­velop their crit­i­cal think­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills through the unique method of or­a­tors choos­ing their own topic, which is re­lated to an over­all theme.”

He said the com­pe­ti­tion was con­ceived to fully de­velop the po­ten­tial in lead­ers for today and to­mor­row in an un­con­ven­tional man­ner through com­pe­ti­tion and bond­ing. “De­bate is one of the best tools to de­velop ora­tory and speak­ing skills in our stu­dents, giv­ing them the con­fi­dence to ex­press them­selves ef­fec­tively and to boldly im­press and con­vince the lis­ten­ers.”

While thank­ing the Di­rec­tor of the host school, Mrs. Modupe Adeyinka-Oni, whose en­cour­age­ment stim­u­lated the ex­e­cu­tion of the pilot edi­tion in Nige­ria, Olu-Philips, said if more school own­ers and ed­u­ca­tors can work to­gether with his or­gan­i­sa­tion, it would or­gan­ise more ef­fec­tive co-curric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties that will help the all-round de­vel­op­ment of stu­dents’ per­son­al­i­ties.

Com­mend­ing the or­gan­is­ers for the ini­tia­tive, Adeyinka-Oni said: “There are so many ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties that are not nec­es­sar­ily aca­demic op­por­tu­ni­ties but by not be­ing able to en­gage by com­mu­ni­cat­ing well, it is in a sense cost­ing the coun­try some­thing valu­able.

“Ev­ery­body thinks that univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion is the way to go, but there is so much in the way of en­trepreneur­ship and so we have to help them go through events like this to be­come very outspoken and thereby bring out that hid­den tal­ent in them.”

She urged the stu­dents to be­lieve in them­selves, ad­vis­ing that the most im­por­tant thing they need to bring to the ta­ble is the will­ing­ness to learn and work hard to achieve their goals. “They should be mo­ti­vated to do more, in spite of what­ever odds they might be faced with.”

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