A team of young high school debaters in Ghana have ended their impressive run of form at their maiden World Schools Debate Championship 2020.
The quintet of Charity Apreku, Nana Yaa Obeng-Nkansah, Andrew Kattah, Isabel Prempeh and Nyankpani Abdul-Quddus Kesson from Tema International School and Presbyterian Boys Senior High School, become the first from Ghana to participate in the championship.
The World Schools Debate Championship is an annual global youth championship that convenes some of the brightest young minds across the world.
The event which started in 1981 has seen the traditional native English countries like England, Australia, and Canada dominate with South Africa being the only country in Africa to have made it to the finals in 2014.
Ghana becomes the only country in Sub-Saharan Africa after West African neighbours Nigeria and Liberia to have participated in the global competition and the first to have won two preliminary rounds of debate at their maiden appearance.
A record 76 countries took part in this year’s edition.
This achievement comes on the back of an impressive campaign by the KNUST and University of Ghana debate teams at last year’s World Universities Debate Championship in Bangkok, Thailand. KNUST’s Boakye Nyamekye Isaac and Erasmus Segbefia became the first Ghanaians to qualify from a pool of 400 teams across the world to the next round of the championship as Kweku Apreku Agyepong of the University of Ghana also defended successfully the Public Speaking Championship title won by UG the previous year.
At the World Schools Debate 2020, Ghana’s High School sensations faced fierce competitions from USA, Germany, Jamaica, Armenia and fellow Africans Libya and subsequently very formidable South American counterparts from El Salvador and won 2 rounds in the process.
Although Team Ghana could not progress to the next phase of the competition, the achievement is remarkable considering the team had only one month to prepare virtually.
According to Coach of Team Eric Asamoah, given the structural challenges confronting debate development in Ghana, which were further exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis, the effort of the students was all the more astonishing. Eric Asamoah further added that his organization Speech Forces Ghana, which has since 2014 been training high school students in the art of debate is further emboldened to work harder to get Ghana going stronger in the coming years.
Since 2016, Speech Forces Organization has tried to send a team to the World Championships without success.
On behalf of the team, the leader of the team, Charity Apreku thanked his teammates and coaches for their support and called on the Ghana Education Service, Ministry of Education and Corporate Organizations to support the cause of debate in Ghana.
She challenged her colleagues in High School to begin preparations for an improved performance in the next championship scheduled to take place in Macau in 2021.
The team leader further added that despite the difficulties in debating virtually for the first time, the team persevered with hopes of bringing honor to Ghana.