AMA, UNESCO launch Junior High School debate championship
The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), in partnership with UNESCO, has launched the Junior High School Debate Championship in Accra to foster reading habits and test students' analytical skills.

Date Created : 3/1/2024 12:00:00 AM : Story Author : Hafsa Obeng/

The inter-school debate, which began on March 14, 2024, would involve 16 Junior High Schools in the Accra Metropolis demonstrating their analytical skills about the Accra World Book Capital programme.

The debates form part of a series of activities to mark the end of the Accra World Book Capital 2023 programme on April 23, 2024.

Mr. Moses J. Y. Gemeh, Principal Programme Officer, in charge of Education, Ghana Commission for UNESCO, said the debate was to encourage children to embrace reading in totality.

“We are having a series of activities to culminate the yearlong event before Ghana hands over the title to the next country, so the objective is to allow the students to have a session where they could bring on board things that they have read and to encourage them to go further and read more, think critically and learn how to communicate their ideas as well,” he stated.

Madam Elizabeth Sackey, Chief Executive of the AMA, who launched the championship debate, said it was necessary to continue empowering the youth to cultivate the habit of reading and lifelong learning, as well as providing opportunities to nurture skills and dreams through programmes such as the Junior High School debate.

She said education had always been the cornerstone of the country’s progress, and the Accra World Book Capital 2023 event reflected the commitment to fostering intellectual growth and critical thinking among the youth.

She advised the students to make reading and learning a lifelong habit.

The world book capital programme of UNESCO aims at promoting reading among children of school going age.

Mr. Steven Abanfo, Greater Accra Regional Director of Education, emphasized that the event would motivate residents to explore literature, broaden their minds, promote learning and the use of books, and impart morality and good judgment to maintain a peaceful society.

He acknowledged the work of teachers in preparing the competitors for the debate, adding, "This will go a long way to improve literacy among learners and help build the analytical minds of the youth to make them responsible adults."

Mr. Abanfo praised UNESCO for its laudable goal of encouraging critical thinking, reading, and research among young learners, and advised students to use available books and internet resources to broaden their horizons for the sake of society.

Mrs. Melody Boateng, UNESCO Representative, Accra office, encouraged the debaters to put aside their differences and support one another.

“As you engage in these intellectual battles, let solidarity guide you. Support your fellow debaters, whether they are your teammates or opponents. Encourage each other to do your best because, in this arena of ideas, every voice matters,” she stated.

Some of the competitors expressed their happiness to be part of the competition.

According to them, the debate would offer them an opportunity to gain exposure, share ideas, and boost their confidence while preparing them for the future.