Prempeh College has won the first season of the Symphony of Speech Senior High School Debates competition, beating St. Louis Senior High School to lift the coveted trophy as the best debating school in the Ashanti region.
It was a duel that saw students from both schools debate for and against the motion: “Africa has the right to foreign aid and the Western world owes it a duty to the continent as a responsibility.”
The grand finale of the debate which came off at the Engineering Auditorium of the KNUST was the climax of a competition involving eight different schools in the Ashanti Region participating in the preliminaries, as part of efforts to shape high school students as effective future leaders by building a high level of self esteem and confidence amongst them.
The programme is an initiative of Opunimagine Leadership Organization, an NGO and supported by the Otumfuo Charity Foundation, designed to enhance the oratory skills of students and as well keep them abreast with modern issues on both national and international scenes.
In a statement for the motion, debaters from St. Louis Senior High School argued that after several years of colonizing the African continent and slave trading its inhabitants, the least that the West can do as a way to compensate Africa for the damage done, is for them to give African countries foreign aid.
But debaters from Prempeh College countered their argument with the claim that Africa deserved no compensation from the Western countries for colonialism, because though nefarious, it helped introduce civilization, modernization and human advancement to the continent.
The semi-finals of the competition saw students from Kumasi Academy and Yaa Asantewaa Girls Senior High School debating with the other two schools on the motions: “Ghana's black gold glitters but is more likely to turn black” and “free speech should be restricted.”
Patrons at the event including the Head of the Department of History and Political Science at the KNUST, Dr. Wilhemina Donkor, lecturers at the department, Dr. Samuel Adu Gyamfi and Dr. Mariama Marciana were overwhelmed by the thought-provoking arguments of the students and their deep levels of thinking as far as the debate topics were concerned.
Patrons congratulated the debaters for their spot on arguments, the high levels of confidence and immense charisma exhibited, and their overly apt public speaking manners, considering their levels of education.
In a typical departure from the normal format of debating that Ghanaian students are used to, the duel debate format was applied, which involved the debating sides trading their arguments one after the other, such that a point raised by one side was promptly debunked by the other side, who quickly established their strong points.
Co-Directors of Opunimagine Leadership Organization, Nicholas Opuni Opoku and Isaac Opuni Frimpong encouraged the winning students not to relent in their efforts at undertaking research activities and reading about areas of local governance and international politics, which would go a long way to shape their debating and public engagement skills for the better. They asked other competing students who could not win the ultimate trophy not to lose hope, as even bigger opportunities await them in the future which if they work hard enough.
The finalists walked away with various prizes from sponsors of the Symphony of Speech including scholarships to study French from Alliance Francaise, sponsorship from Life Link Ghana to participate in UN model conferences, book prizes among others. Other sponsors for the competition included Touch of Bronze Ltd, Indomie Noodles, Nestle Ghana Ltd, Kingdom Books and Stationery, Napex UBI Petroleum Ltd, Davida Designs Décor and Studio 225.