IT was a battle of two less-fancied senior high schools at the grand finale of the 22nd Inter-Senior High School debate competition held at the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) Hall in Accra.
Sokode Senior High/Technical School, representing the southern sector of Ghana, emerged winners with 82.7 per cent to beat favourite contenders, Acherensua SHS, representatives of the northern sector, who scored 81.3 per cent.
It took the eloquence of the lead speaker for Sokode SH/TS, Ms Joyce Owusu A. Nimako, to clinch victory, and when the lead judge Dr Doris Yaa Dartey announced the final results, it was a tale of two stories.
While the Sokode students jubilated, the Acherensua students broke down in tears even though she commended both sides that they were winners.
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For winning, the four contestants of Sokode Senior High/Technical School received GH¢2,000 to share, while each of the contestants took home a laptop. For producing winners, the school received two desktop computers, with the coaches who led the students receiving GH¢500.
The contestants of Acherensua SHS received GH¢1,600 to share, while each of the four contestants took home a laptop for placing second in the debate.
The Acherensua SHS also received two desktop computers for producing second place winners of the debate, while the teachers who coached the debators received GH¢500.
The exciting part of the competition was the involvement of old students of the two schools who cheered on and applauded students of their alma mater as they engaged in the intellectual exercise.
Prominent among the old students of the Acherensua SHS was the Minister of National Security, Mr Albert Kan Dapaah, who was a big motivation for the students, though they did not pick up the ultimate prize.
All the judges commended the debators for their deep knowledge in the topic, their excellent skills of presentation and clarity of points.
Welcoming the contestants and the guests, the Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Professor Kwasi Opoku Amankwa, described the debate as a key event leading to the independence celebration on the broad theme: “Celebrating peace and unity”.
He said as a nation, “our fortunes of progress rest squarely on our ability to maintain peace and build a nation of people with a common destiny.”
Both are winners
He commended the two schools “for contesting and beating all the big schools in their respective zones,” telling both teams that they reaching the grand finale meant they were all winners and the overall winner would be Ghana.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, commended the debators and their teachers for the sterling performance.
He recalled that debates had been an integral part in our democratic dispensation.
He said debates provided a platform for civilised societies to exchange ideas and seek to mould their ideas, which he described as “a much better platform than the imposition of ideas.”
Dr Prempeh congratulated them and stated that the fact that they had been able to beat all the other schools to reach the finale indicated the tenacity with which they approached the debate.
The Administrator of the Ghana Investment for Electronic Communication (GIFEC), Mr Abraham Kofi Asante, in a goodwill message read on his behalf, gave an assurance that his outfit would continue to support schools to achieve President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s digitised Ghana agenda.