The heat for the championship began way before tomorrow. Schools have been busy preparing their students. Some, have even gone to the extent of hiring university debate coaches to prep them for the championship. The English category, which is in its seventh year, has been overwhelmed with applications after the success of previous events. What makes it all more exciting this year is the return of the debaters of St. Xavier, Penang; who has been missing from the championship for three years and whom have won the first three championships – seamlessly. Would Ian Howell and his boys be able to walk their way through the championship easily this time?
87 schools from around the country have entered teams of 3 consisting of students 13 – 17-year-olds, plus a reserve. They will compete at the International Islamic University, Gombak.
Debating can be great fun and thanks to the outstanding debate skills of contestants in 2009, we have a very high standard to witness this year. Children often struggle with debating because teachers are not properly trained to teach it, according to Saiful Amin, Lecturer of Universiti Putra Malaysia and Advisor to the World Universities Peace Invitational Debate (WUPID).
Saiful said that debating should be an integral part of teacher training and would allow teachers to enhance their teaching skills. He said teachers needed to know of the convention and training methods of competitive debating.