Home Youth Academia should start to focus on Debating: The Liberty Debates Champions

Academia should start to focus on Debating: The Liberty Debates Champions

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Kathmandu, 01 May, 2016: Saurav Bhatta who also bagged the prize for The Best Speaker – Runner Up in The Liberty Debates Championship Mahasangram 2016 is currently a student of Economics at Ratna Rajya College, his teammate, Kapil Adhikari is a high School graduate on his gap year; they make up the the winning team ‘Kaurav”.

Glocal Khabar caught up with them for an interview on the closing ceremony of the programme. They talked about their journey on becoming the champion in the competition, here is an excerpt from the enlightening conversation:

GlocalKhabar: When did you start your journey on debating that ended up making you the champions in this league? And, when did you came to meet each other?

Saurav: We had a platform called Smart club that used to cater for public speaking, debating and leadership training. We came to know each other in the year 2011 and we have been together since then. And, have been continuously involved in debating since that day.

GlocalKhabar: How was the journey to The Liberty Debates Championship Mahasangram 2016?

Saurav: In the initial three months of the championship we used to vigorously debate and discuss and generate ideas on debating and learning the National British Parliamentary League. But we didn’t have to compete then. Competitive rounds started just one months ago. And, this is the tenth or eleventh round of debating session we have taken part in this particular championship, sometimes as jury member and sometimes as debaters.

GlocalKhabar: How long did you get to prepare for the topic in this final round of competition?

Kapil: We got to know about the topic of debate only two days ago. In earlier rounds of debating sessions, we used to get pre-informed on half of the topics while half would remain unknown to us untill the last 30 minutes due for the session to begin.

GlocalKhabar: How did you work in team on sharing of points to bring forward and addressing Points of Information (POI) and how long did you practice to complete everything in 7 minutes? How challenging was it?

Saurav: There were two types of teamwork we had. One was at the time of preparation before the debate and the other one while we were at the bench in the debate competition. While preparing, we used to start sharing of ideas on what points we need to include in the motion and what points not to omit while debating in the podium and probable POI to raise to the debater from the opposite panel. We discussed thoroughly on the topic to come to a consent and move forward then. We would then be dividing each other’s responsibility on who to look after which aspect. Finally at the time of debate, if one of us misses a point, another would try to bring the point to the debate. About POI, we mostly discussed on who to address that issue and who to take that points ahead.

GlocalKhabar: How challenging was it to address the issues from POI?

Saurav: We feel this is the matter of practice. Earlier we used to feel it more challenging while these days, it’s less challenging compared to earlier time. We still feel it challenging but the harder we practice, the more we will be able to overcome the challenge. We would like to give due credit for this to the format of debating i.e. British Parliamentary League style of debating. The format has increased our thinking capacity.

GlocalKhabar: What is your future plan on taking the debating career ahead? Would you still be continuing debating even after winning this tournament?

Saurav: We had started debating and participating in similar leagues long before this particular tournament. So, our journey won’t end just here. Our journey is too long. This tournament is one part of our journey.  Our one motive is to hone our debating skills further and our other motive is to start teaching debating skills to people.

GlocalKhabar: What sort of improvement have you felt on your own after being in the championship since the last four months?

Kapil: Through this championship, we have improved our team-building skills and the skills to work in teams. But, there is still a long way to go for us to achieve more and go international.

GlocalKhabar: In the context of Nepal, events like this have not come to light and have not been able to garner the public attention that it deserves. How important do you think such events are?

Saurav: I find it to be very important and debating championships like this should come to light as far as my knowledge and experience about debating is concerned. One reason for the events like this not being able to come to light might be because its own brand has not been established yet in Nepal. And, programmes like this are setting a journey forward to establish debating as a different skill to help youths and even improve debating in government level. Debates like this are missing in academia in Nepal. Whereas, Universities and academic institutions abroad have given much emphasis on debating and included it as part of curriculum or at least as part of co-curricular activities. Schools, colleges and universities in Nepal also should start prioritize debating which will surely help to grow it as a culture in Nepal. Academia can help to establish such a culture by including debating within their syllabus or at least co-curricular activities.

GlocalKhabar: What do you think is the best part of your journey to the final round in this competition?

Saurav and Kapil: It surely has to be the interaction that we used to have with our fellow participants. We used to have fun. We used to prepare vigorously for the competitions to meet the deadlines. We groomed ourselves as friends not rivals.

GlocalKhabar: What message do you want to convey to youngsters and those who have been left out from competitions like this?

Kapil: Whoever has been part of this journey, I humbly request them to not to leave this operation. You need to take your journey of debating further ahead. About the upcoming generations, I want them the challenge their own perspectives and be able to question their own thinking and while at the same time understanding different issues and develop the ability to understand others’ ideas and dexter one’s capacity to see an idea from a different perspective.