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Junior secondary students debate on designating World Cup final day as a statutory holiday
9 July 2006

 

Junior secondary students today (9 July) showed the community their care for the World Cup and demonstrated their analytical capability.

The two teams entering the grand final of the SCOLAR Debating Competition for Junior Secondary Students, Scared Heart Canossian College (Affirmative) and Carmel Pak U Secondary School (Opposition), debated on the motion "The World Cup Final Day should be designated as a statutory holiday".  The winner was Carmel Pak U Secondary School.

Speaking at the press conference before the grand final, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) Mr Michael Tien encouraged students to participate more in debating activities.

He said debating blended the five learning aspects of reading, writing, listening, speaking and thinking, which definitely helped students brush up their language skills.

"By organising its first-ever debating competition, SCOLAR aims to bring in a new mode of debating that is different from traditional ones.  Our emphasis on giving immediate response on stage to questions and rebuttals and the introduction of the 'Think-tank Challenge' session require debaters to instantly challenge the opponent team.  This will help nurture students' responsiveness, team working, swift yet all-rounded thinking, critical mind and problem solving skills", he said.

"I am glad to see improvements among the students after several rounds of competition.  They have demonstrated their increasing ability to analyse objectively, convince people with reason, at the same time help and understand each other as well as respect other people's right of expression.  I wish the students will apply what they have learnt from debating for the betterment of Hong Kong," he added.

Mr Tien said that SCOLAR would work with the Language Learning Support Section of the Education and Manpower Bureau to organise more extended activities on debating for teachers to integrate debating into their language teaching inside and outside the classroom. There would also be continued collaboration with other organisations to promote a more challenging and innovative debating format for the benefits of students.

The SCOLAR Debating Competition for Junior Secondary Students aims to raise students' motivation for language learning, better train their skills in the use of language (in particular in listening and speaking), enhance their logical thinking capability and organisation skills, as well as help them build up self-confidence and sense of team work.

A total of 63 schools participated in the preliminary rounds of the competition which started in February.  Each of the participating schools put together a team of eight debaters comprising Secondary 1 to 3 students to compete under four regions, Hong Kong, Kowloon, New Territories East and New Territories West.  The two winning teams in each region competed in the quarter-finals and semi-finals before the two final teams met each other in the grand final.

To encourage the use of debating in language teaching, a series of debating workshops for teachers has also been provided to strengthen their knowledge of and training skills in debating.

Other guests attending today's grand final included Mrs Jane Or and Mrs Agnes Tsui, SCOLAR Members cum members of the competition's organising committee, as well as the competition's advisers.

SCOLAR has commissioned TVB to produce a special TV programme to feature the debating competition.  Apart from highlighting the grand final, the programme has also invited Mr Tien; President of the Legislative Council Mrs Rita Fan; General Manager, Broadcasting of TVB Mr Stephen C. W. Chan; students and teachers to share their joy in debating and the debating skills that can be applied in daily life.

The TV programme will be broadcast on TVB Jade Channel on 13 July (Thursday) at 11:05 p.m.  Another programme featuring the whole grand final will be aired on 23 July (Sunday) at 1:15 p.m.

Established in 1996, SCOLAR advises the Government on language education issues and the use of the Language Fund.