Debating at Maritzburg College

Rahul Iccharam

The league debating involves a great deal of work from the boys. The Grade 8 teams are allocated a topic and are also told which side of the topic they will be debating. The Juniors are given a topic and have no idea if they are Proposition or Opposition. The Seniors are given a topic area or a topic if the debates are very close together.
Tenacity and commitment are the order of the day. Some adjudicators enjoy an aggressive approach and others don’t. Each debate has only got a 50% chance of being won. Getting the best speaker award is also a much coveted goal.

We also participate in the annual IPPF (International Public Policy Forum) debate. This is a different ball-game altogether as it is a written debate and also an international debate. The participants initially choose whether they will oppose or propose a given topic. This debate then gets judged and 32 teams are allocated and given the proposition or opposition side. This process continues until only 8 teams remain. These 8 teams then do a public debate in New York.

Another big event on the debating calendar is the Model United Nations debate. College participates by joining up with Nsikayethu Secondary School in Imbali. Each school has two participants and this team of four then represent the country allocated to them and will investigate and bring to the floor issues surrounding a specific topic. The topic is always one of international interest and it is also very topical. In 2016 we were lucky enough to get Sweden as our country and with its very liberal labour laws we were able to secure a 2nd place.
College is entering 7 teams this year; two in the senior and grade 8 league and three in the junior league. The new grade 8 boys are a very promising group with loads of enthusiasm. This needs to last for two terms.

The top senior team is : S Nyker, R Iccharam (capt), C Tooke and N Govender. The seniors last year were being coached by T Naidoo who is a very experienced debater and coach and he took the team all the way to the finals. Sadly Mr Naidoo has now got himself involved in the World Scholars Cup and is no longer available for coaching.

R Iccharam, C Tooke and N Govender were selected for provincials, while a very eloquent and convincing grade 8 debater Isaac Leiseth was selected to represent KZN at the National competition before he jetted off to the USA. Ryan Hodgson was awarded the first honours award in debating for many years.

The juniors and Grade 8’s are being coached by Mrs Couperthwaite with the assistance of Mrs Govender. Mrs Lindie and Mrs Lowe are adjudicators.


Mrs L Couperthwaite

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