In a most interesting development, the Federal Government has reportedly concluded plans to establish a National Debate Academy which will train students on how to debate local, national, and international issues.
One Mr Ade Ayeni, Director of International Programmes, Presidential Schools Debate Nigeria (PSDN), disclosed this in an interview on Monday in Abuja. According to him, the academy would be established for students in primary and secondary schools. He says, “The debate academy will educate students on how to comport themselves during any competition and it will help them to develop their acts and skills during debates… This will not only groom the students to be friendly with one another, but it will also help them in their school work. When you debate a lot, you will do well in oral English.
“We are also using this to do research topics because there are so many topics that the students research on before they can engage in debates… This will also expand their knowledge and also increases the use of ICT by the students,” Ayeni said. He added that the academy would engage researchers and lecturers as well as recruit coaches and judges. He said that the academy was collaborating with some international partners who would act as instructors to the children.
This is indeed a welcome development, but perhaps the FG should also be thinking about a similar project for the country’s politicians who do not seem to have debating skills, thereby performing woefully in debates, if they attend them that is.