The senator spoke at an inter-school debate competition in Ebonyi.
Senator Chris Nwankwo (PDP Ebonyi North) has called on stakeholders in the education sector to make debate one of the compulsory subjects in schools in the country.
He made the call at the Grand Finale of Governor Martin Elechi Inter-School Debate Championship in Abakaliki on Saturday.
He said if debate was made compulsory in schools, it would harness the interpretative and argumentative talents in students and contribute to the general upliftment of the education sector in the country.
Nwankwo said “this can be achieved with the inauguration of debate clubs in schools with well-trained teachers to groom the students.
“It will also give the students the required courage to interact with the outside world and harness their grammatical disposition.’’
The senator noted that debating competitions should be encouraged among schools to bring the desired exposure to students.
Such competitions could be organised at the local government, zonal and state levels to select the best students who would represent the councils, zones and the states, he said.
In his contributions at the grand finale, Senator Sunny Ogbuoji (PDP-Ebonyi South) congratulated the students who participated in the championship and expressed happiness over what he described as “scintillating argumentative artistry displayed by the students.’’
He said: “this shows that Ebonyi, formerly regarded as an educationally backward state, is now producing students who can compete favourably with other students in the country.
“The student debaters from Ebonyi have confirmed to us that their thrashing of students from Kaduna State in the national debate finals recently in Abuja was not a fluke.”
“This is because we can see in these students, potential professors, doctors, engineers and businessmen, as the future is indeed bright for the state.’’
Mr. Ogbuoji announced a joint donation of N200, 000 each to the three best schools in the competition, saying it was from him and Mr. Nwankwo.
In his remarks, Governor Martin Elechi thanked the students and announced that the state government would reward them for bringing honour to the state.
He said “I was a debate club member during my school days, but could not have matched the fluency and convincing skills exhibited by these students.’’
Mike Otuma, the Personal Assistant to the Governor on Higher Education and Chairman of the competition, thanked the governor for sponsoring debates in the state.
He said those who excelled would be paired with the state team to select a final squad that would represent the country at the World Debate Championship scheduled for Thailand in 2014.
Prizes were awarded to winners of the competition which had “This House Would Ban Government Sponsorship of Religious Pilgrimages’’ as the topic.
The winners were Holy Ghost Secondary School, Abakaliki which came First, Holy Rosary College, Okposi which came Second, and Urban Model Secondary School, Abakaliki, Third.