THE REGIONAL rounds of the national Debate League took place in several locations in Slovakia in February. Sometimes called the “Academic Debate” the programme is a competitive debating activity for students at all school levels, aimed at improving their reasoning and critical-thinking skills.
Secondary school students compete in two teams of three individuals, debating a topic with one team being “pro” and the other “con”. They are assigned one or two topics as homework several weeks earlier so that the teams can prepare in advance. Two easier issues are also debated on the spot with the teams having only one hour to prepare. Debate League teams compete four times a year.
The Bratislava round took place at the 1st Private Secondary Grammar School in mid February and the winning team was from the C.S. Lewis Secondary Grammar School and consisted of Hana Bútorová, Viktória Viteková and Peter Janiš, who was also chosen as the best individual rhetorician of the round. The debate topic was whether schools have the right to segregate Roma and non-Roma students.
In all more than 60 students from 11 secondary schools in Bratislava participated, according to Lukáš Lehotský of the Slovenská debatná asociácia (Slovak Debate Association, SDA). He added that Roma issues do not get enough attention compared to other topics.
Almost 80 students took part in debates one week later in the town of Michalovce in the eastern regional round. “The best team was drawn from several Košice secondary schools – Mojmír Stehlík, Daniela Grófová and Jakub Labanský – and Mojmír was chosen the best rhetorician of the contest,” Michal Papcun of the debate association told the TASR newswire.
Experts were also asked to participate at the debates by discussing the issue from their perspective: the expert in Michalovce was Ingrid Kosová and in Bratislava it was Zuzana Balážová. Participating students had the chance to attend two earlier seminars: one on methods of debate and the other offering an overview of various aspects of life such as law, international relations, philosophy and social sciences.
5. Mar 2012 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská