The victorious School of Law Team 2 members with the Grand Final Judges (garlanded). From L-R: Pauline Ryland, Lanieta More, Jon Apted, Rabia Ali, Zakiyyah Ali and Totivi Bokini-Ratu.
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) School of Law Team Two (2) came out champions of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education’s (FALE) Debate Series Grand Finale 2018 at the Laucala Campus on 16 October 2018.
School of Law Teams one (1) and 2 bravely fought for a place in the Grand Final where the debate topic was ‘USP should raise the entry requirement mark to 250 out of 400 (Fiji) or equivalent (other countries) for degree studies’.
Ms Zakiyyah Ali, the victorious team leader of Team 2, and recipient of three (3) Best Individual Debater Award in three (3) rounds, was ecstatic about the win saying, “We are overjoyed to have made it as finalists, and winning the 2018 series was the icing on the cake”.
“Debating in the FALE Debate Series was an exhilarating experience. I must admit, some have been very challenging,” she shared.
Her first debate in the FALE Series last year was on "Women should be given preferential treatment in all levels of Pacific Society”.
“Now, as a feminist, naturally I was for the topic with the belief that women should be given a boost to make up for all the years that they have been oppressed and not given the same opportunities. To my dismay we were negating the issue. However we were able to maneuver around the topic to argue that for women to be given preferential treatment, we would first have to be on par with men, and that is clearly not the case,” she stated.
“Similarly we have debated on controversial issues such as accepting refugees, rights of disabled students, benefits of second hand imports for the Pacific and finally, whether USP should increase the entrance marks. Thus, given the contentious nature of the topics, we have had to research a lot and in the process I am pleased to admit, as debaters we have emerged as more informed, well-read and bright young people,” she added.
Mr Siddiq Koya, team leader of School of Law Team 1, “felt the FALE Debate Series 2018 was one of its best as there were a lot interesting and thought-provoking topics”.
He said the organisers also took the opportunity to ask debaters for their input and suggestion on how the organisation of the debate was to be done.
“We found this a very helpful gesture as it allowed us to give back to the series in the form of ideas and collaboration. Finally we would like to thank FALE and all those who were part of the Debate series this year for giving us such an amazing opportunity to compete and learn,” he said.
Mrs Ana Kitolelei Bulavakarua, FALE Student Learning Specialist and coordinator of the FALE Debate Series, explained that the debate series was a student empowerment platform in which students are able to “think critically about an issue, to work in a team, and then to stand in a space and critically debate on certain issues that surrounds us here in Oceania”.
She explained that the debate series is also about training students to facilitate events such as such.
“Ms Penina Waqatabu and Ratu Tevita Rarokolutu, current students and former FALE Debaters have progressed from being debaters to moderating and facilitating each debate, and next year, we would like them to progress to the judging panel while more students can moderate and control the debates”.
The teams at the FALE Debate Series are from its four (4) schools - the School of Language, Arts and Media, the School of Education, the School of Law, the School of Social Sciences, and the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies.
In delivering the judging panel remarks, Mr Jon Apted, Chief Judge, a Partner at Munro Leys, congratulated the student debaters saying he was very impressed with the performance of both teams.
He reminded them that to be great debaters and lawyers, “you have to be prepared, and being prepared is all about research, knowing your facts, practising, knowing your time, and getting your act together”.
Ms Pauline Ryland, Student Learning Specialist at USP, and Totivi Bokini-Ratu, Manager of Enrolment at Student Administrative Services USP, were part of the judging panel.
Thirty (30) students had participated in this year’s series, which had a total of nine (9) debates.
Mrs Bulavakarua acknowledged Dr. Akanisi Kedrayate, Dean of the Faculty for the financial support and the many individuals who had been part of the judging panels for each of the debates.
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