From: Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Stakeholders in education in Ogun State have expressed concern over the waning culture of debate in public secondary schools.
Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology in Ogun State, Mrs. Modupe Mujota, president, All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools, Ogun State chapter, Chief Emmanuel Ogundele and state President, Academic Staff Union of Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS), Akeem Lasisi, expressed this concern, on Thursday, in Abeokuta, in their respective remarks at the presentation of a book titled ‘School Debate: Sustaining the World Standard,’ authored by Akinsolu Martins.
In her speech, Mujota said it was regrettable that school debate was gradually going into extinction, as students and youths no longer consider “debate as a serious activity that should form part of their interactive activity.”
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Alhaji Shefiu Rasheed, Mujota added “debate is fundamental to function in today’s society as it develops the mind to discover new things through extensive reading, while it also develops imagination and creativity.”
She, however, called for the revival of debate as a culture in the society and schools in order to cultivate an informed and enlightened populace.
The commissioner submitted that Ogun State government was reviving debate in its schools through the formation of readers club, press club, organising spelling bee competition among the students and allotting time on school time table for literary and debating activities.
On his own part, the ANCOPSS president, pointed out that factors responsible for fading debate culture in schools include inadequate funding in schools to organise such programme, poor attitude of students to reading, and poor preparation for debating activities.
He, therefore, commended the author, who is also a director in the state ministry education, for writing such book, which according to him, would rekindle the art of debating.
Also speaking, Ogun ASUSS chairman, Lasisi, flayed the warped societal value which has failed to reward excellence in education such as a debating education urging the people to reward and encourage sterling academic performance.
In his own remark, the author disclosed the aim of writing the book was to provide vital information and knowledge necessary in developing and improving school debate competition in Nigeria with special reference to Ogun State.
“School debate played a vital role in school administration, especially in providing information and knowledge in every sphere of human endeavour.
“It has been part and parcel of school system in promoting teaching and learning activities in schools. There is no doubt about it that, this school debate is gradually fading away in schools, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria.” Martins submitted.