Government urged to invest more in public speaking, poetry to enhance communication skills in schools

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Government urged to invest more in public speaking, poetry to enhance communication skills in schools
Students during Uganda Secondary Debate, Poetry, and Public Speech Champion 2024.

Educationists have expressed concern about the declining quality of spoken language and presentation skills among students, pointing to the diminishing prominence of school debates.

Students focused on cramming as much material as possible, and the influence of new social media language, have contributed to a decline in effective communication and the emergence of timid students who struggle to express themselves and suffer from stage fright.

These concerns were raised during the Uganda Secondary Debate, Poetry, and Public Speech Champion 2024, held in Wakiso under the theme "Amplifying Students' Voice for the Attainment of Sustainable Goals."

The event was organized by the Uganda National Students Association (UNSA).

Obed Obedgiv Kwokuboth Jaumeo, the Patron of Poetry at Taibah, spoke to the Nile Post and emphasized the need to support students to cultivate future leaders.

He highlighted the significant role the association plays in reconstructing and constructing a cohesive society as a whole.

"The education sector should move away from the class system, which I believe the new curriculum is attempting to address but hasn't fully tackled. It should be mandatory for every school to engage in these platforms, as this is where students can showcase their speaking abilities and recite poetry," he stated.

He further emphasized that if the education sector is genuinely committed to implementing a comprehensive system that encompasses both spoken and written language, competitions like these are essential for enhancing communication skills among learners.

However, Jaumeo noted a considerable decline in public debates within schools, which significantly impacts the quality of discourse in public platforms.

"There was a time when debates were integrated into the education system. However, nowadays, especially with the emergence of numerous schools, the focus is solely on pushing students to complete assignments, disregarding the importance of debates that could benefit students," he explained.

Sandrine Nuwasiima, Deputy Speaker of UNSA, called upon the government to increase investment in public speaking, poetry, and debates.

She emphasised that the association struggles to secure funding to finance school debates, posing a significant challenge.

"I would also like to highlight that financial constraints limit our activities in debates and poetry. The subscriptions we receive are often untimely. We need support from the government because we are not only training students at the district level, but we are also cultivating future legislators. Government investment in the younger generation would be greatly beneficial," she stated.

Nuwasiima encouraged patrons from different schools to support debate clubs in various ways.

She also urged schools to allow their students to participate in debates, as it is an excellent platform for enhancing confidence and nurturing future leaders.

"Our debates extend beyond the borders of our country. We have had schools that succeeded even outside Africa last year," she added.

Benita Gloria Nakakembo, a student from Mountain of Olives College, stressed the need for financial support for students.

Limited funds prevent many schools from participating in such competitions.

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