The Debates project seeks to present scientific information to the youth of South Africa in a manner that will stimulate them intellectually and encourage them to engage each other on science-related issues.
The core objectives behind this project are to:
- Disseminate scientific information to high school learners in a manner that is both fun and interactive in order to stimulate interest;
- Facilitate dialogue between young people from all walks of life throughout the whole of South Africa on science, engineering and technology; and
- Promote science, engineering and technology-related careers to young people in South Africa with the hope that they will pursue careers in those fields.
Further to these core objectives, the SAASTA National Schools Debates aim to:
- Encourage young people to address key issues facing their communities and the country and to find solutions to these issues through science, engineering and technology;
- Impart crucial research skills to all participants in the project;
- Prepare South Africa’s learners for the professional working environment;
- Nurture assertiveness and confidence among young South Africans – the leaders of the future;
- Encourage proficiency in English, the generally accepted language of business and academia, by promoting the core principles of good speech-making and presentation skills; and
- Encourage a pioneering spirit among the young people of South Africa.
How is the competition structured?
This competition consists of workshops, provincial and national competitions. Ten schools per province, chosen by SAASTA on the basis of speeches entered, compete in the provincial competition. Before the provincial competitions, the participating teams will attend provincial workshops to explain how everything works. During these workshops, the topic for provincial debate will be announced and the team’s perspective will be drawn from a hat.
The winning school from each province will move on to the national competition that will be held in Gauteng. Winners of the provincial competitions will be informed of their topic for the national competition after all provincial rounds are completed.
Perspectives of science communication
Application and benefit
Science and technological developments should address the needs and challenges of greater society.
Research and development in science and technology requires significant financial investment but can lead to new technology that has larger economic benefits.
Developments in science and technology are influenced by and impact cultural values and societal dynamics.
Science developments and implementation of technologies takes place within a political environment.
- All debates must be registered pupils in grade 9, 10 and 11 at a recognised high school in South Africa.
- The contest is restricted to a team of five debaters per school.
- The team members of the previous year’s national prize winners (1st,2nd and 3rd ) may not re-enter the competition.
- Winning schools may re-enter, however with the different team members.
- Dress code for the debaters is strictly school uniform.
- Debating teams should be at the competition venue 30 minutes before the start of the proceedings. Late arrival may result in a team’s disqualification.
- All content presented by the debaters must be original and the debater’s own work.
- Debaters are required to participate in English.
- Provincial topic: The workshop facilitators will advise the debaters of the topic.
- Each provincial winning team will advance to the national finals in Gauteng.
- The judge panel’s decision is final and no discussion or correspondence will be entered into.
For more information, please visit the SAASTA website