The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Tonga Campus recently hosted Tonga’s Inter-Tertiary Debate Competition for the first time since the onset of COVID-19.
USP Tonga Campus Director Dr Robin Havea said, “like any school in the Kingdom, USP Tonga Campus had her fair share of facing the many challenges during the lockdown period in the past two to three years. The debate competition was part of our revival exercise where we continued to announce that USP Tonga Campus was back to normal, and we shall continue to play our part where we would reach out to other tertiary institutions.”
“We promote freethinking, freedom of speech, and critical mindedness, and while we respect each other’s opinion, we need to allow our young minds to speak out confidently in a dignified manner. Public speaking is an art and needs constant training, so our debate competition is a platform for our students to practice,” added Dr Havea.
Meanwhile, Queen Salote Institute of Nursing and Allied Health Graduate Nursing Tutor, Sr. Sione Tukia Kafoa said, “this year’s debate was a good experience for us teachers as much as it was for our students. The opportunity to take part in this competition was not only a milestone to the nursing school, but the first time to expose our students to more diverse learning in our small island country.”
“The experience was also an opportunity to make our nurses aware of the outer world as some of the topics were outside the nursing profession, and we look forward to more opportunities to join force with USP tutor’s to home in on the critical thinking skills of our students and to allow them to inspect and scrutinize more interesting subject matters that is relevant,” he added.
A total of eight teams participated in the Inter-Tertiary Debate Competition with three teams representing USP’s School of Agriculture Geography Engineering Ocean and Natural Sciences (SAGEONS), one team from Queen Salote Institute of Nursing and Allied Health (QSINAH), two teams from Tonga College ‘Atele (TCA) and two more from USP’s School of Pacific Art Communication and Education.
The topics that the schools debated included education, climate change, tourism, environment and ocean, COVID-19, innovation, leadership, sports, healthy lifestyles, youth, and religion to name a few.
Queen Salote Institute of Nursing and Allied Health won $1,000 after finishing in first place., USP’s SAGEONS team took out second and third place, while USP’s SPACE finished in fourth place.