The Vanuatu School Debate (VSD) is an innovative new program working with schools across Vanuatu to introduce debate and build the skills of young future leaders. Students compete against teams from schools within their province, analysing topics around current events and government policy.
The VSD is designed to engage and challenge young minds. The fundamental aim of the program is to equip our younger generation with the skills they need to be successful leaders in the future; be it in the home, community, workplace or even representing government in years to come. Debate provides an opportunity for students to develop their team-work, negotiation, communication, public speaking, confidence, research and critical thinking.
A debate is an activity that invites students to think critically, to understand that each issue has a range of perspectives, and then form opinions and structured arguments based on the facts. Although students are assigned one side of the argument, the greatest benefits come from understanding the complexity of the issue. There is no right and wrong in debate, and there will always be correct arguments on both sides. Debate is about assessing your opponent’s ideas, understanding them, and coming up with rational and respectful arguments that challenge them.
For teachers, schools, civil society groups and organisations who are interested in debate, PiPP has developed a number of debate introductory activities that can be adopted, including a simplified classroom debate handbook that can be shared with students to introduce the concepts.
The activities focus on different skills used within a debate, and are designed to include full classes with no additional materials necessary: