Students play pivotal roles in determining how a society is shaped generations after generations. Therefore, civilization must create a space where our today’s young people who are the nation’s builder of tomorrow can exercise their talents and skills.
The student phase of an individual’s existence is the formative period and hence the most crucial time of life. Any serious society will go all out to positively develop the characters of students through formal education and other extra-curricular activities. It is through these efforts that students comprehend the facts and figures and sort out how society ought to be by examining with sensitivity, thoughtfulness, and analytical skills different scenarios and many other pertinent dynamics.
It is against this backdrop that I want to extol the National Executive Committee (NEC) headed by Cadre Varney Alieu Jarsey and the National Administrative Council (NAC) of the Liberia National Students Union (LINSU) for initiating the National County Meet the Challenge Competition which is expected to take place among high schools students in the fifteen political subdivision of our country for the next two months. I am of the conviction that this academic and scholastic program which is being held under the theme:
“Rejuvenating the Culture of Academic Excellence” will widen the intellectual horizons of our students and contribute to making students understand their strengths and weaknesses and discovering their freedom in life. Enhancing the delivery capacity of the students of Liberia through this kind of programs is worth commending. With this thoughtful initiative, we can say for sure that the students’ movement in Liberia is on an irreversible path.
The persistence of this program will further buttress the government and our developmental partners’ efforts to strengthen our educational system which was described by our President as a “mess”. This proactive step taken by LINSU, if established as an annual intellectual jamboree will rapidly eradicate among our students “Super Friday”, teenage pregnancy, early drugs usage, mass failure in schools and public exams like the WAEC’s examination, etc.
This will create a culture where our students will now start to think outside of the box and struggle to be on the same academic and intellectual paths with their counterparts. Their extensive readings to become victorious in the competition will lead them to discovering that students must be treated with dignity and responsibility. They will also understand that they should live up to be responsible and show respect in return to society. This is evidence by the characters, and contributions of those who participated in academic meet the challenge in the past.
To conclude this piece, let me add my voice to the voice of Amb. Miatta Fahnbulleh. Aunty Miatta, a musical diva, a social activist and a Pan Africanist, was the keynote speaker at the launch of the National County Meet the Challenge which was held on Friday, February 26, 2016 at the Centennial Pavilion in Monrovia. She advised the LINSU to also consider initiating the establishment of debating societies in all high schools and universities in Liberia.
I agree with her hundred percent. Debating societies in other African countries and outside of the continent are the most prestigious components of students’ activities. This is because debating offers profound and lasting benefits for students, for societies, and for the global community as a whole. It is an art that places emphasis on critical thinking, effective communication, independent research, and team work.
Debating teaches skills that serve students well in school, in the community, and fulfilling their responsibilities as citizens in a democratic society. It enables young people to engage into honest disagreement which is a sign of progress according to Mahatma Ghandi, the chief architect of India’s independence.
Once students have learned how to debate, they will be equipped enough to examine the political pronunciations of their political representatives, thus enabling them to make inform decision on critical issues. I am a debater, and I know what debating has done to the transformation and the enhancing of my intellect especially when I and some of my comrades participated in the 8th Edition of the Pan African Universities Debate Championship (PAUDC) in Ghana, December of last year. The rising tide in resuscitating the cross pollination of ideas in schools especially universities in Liberia cannot be overly emphasized.
If considered by the LINSU, I recommend using the British Parliamentary Debate Format which is the debating format that is used in the PAUDC and the World Universities Debate Championship, an annual worldwide intellectual carnival held among universities students. With the usage of this format, Liberian debaters will face no challenge when representing the motherland in African and the world at large. I THANK YOU!!!!!
Comrade Moses Uneh Yahmia, Contributing Writer