Migrants as Messengers initiates an Inter-School Debate  .
Ibraahim Sesay
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Migrants as Messengers initiates an Inter-School Debate .

Migrants as Messengers initiates an Inter-School Debate .

Migrants as Messengers initiates an Inter-School Debate.

The Migrant as Messengers with the support of IOM has initiated the Inter School Debate’ designed to promote migration awareness.

The first event held in Port Loko is a novelty featured four leading schools within the town ship. The objective according to MaM volunteers is to raise awareness of the pupils’ teachers and the community. School pupils between 18 and above are believed to be amongst the most vulnerable and represent a fertile and attractive target and ground for traffickers.  Port Loko situated close to   borderline is at the exit point to Guinea. And as such it offers easy access for smugglers and traffickers. Consequently, pupils that fall victims can easily be ferried across the borders using either the main exit or the plethora of routes within the border to start their irregular migration/Temple Run journey. It is said to have become a main hob and point of exit generally used by youths and their traffickers.

 The schools  selected for the debate were:-

1.Movement of Faith (MOF)

2. Roman Catholic Senior Secondary School

3.Islamic Senior Secondary School and

4.Schlenkar S Secondary School.

The topics centered on issues that is envisaged to provide information on regular and irregular migration. A venture is hoped will bring out the perspective or the understanding of pupils about irregular migration. The debate offered a platform on which pupils argued and counter argued on the pros and cons about Temple Run in the presence of from other schools and the community.  

Prior to the commencement of the debate, two discourse session were held on the 19th and 20th of April, to review proposed topics and ascertain preparedness of pupils for the debate schedule for the 21st of April,2021. This meeting took place at J S Hotel Conference Hall. The session and briefing went well in the presence of teachers representing the various schools. The topic

  1. Temple run is a necessary risk to success for young people In Sierra Leone, do you agree or disagree.
  2. The family and community are responsible for the high rate of temple run among young Sierra Leone, do you Agree or Disagree.
  3. It is possible to be successful in Sierra Leone without going Europe or America, do you agree or disagree.

Each school was represented by 2 teachers, 4 debaters, and 20 pupils constituting part of the audience. The judges came from the District Education Office and the Teaching Service Commission- (two per unit and four in all).

The debate itself on the 21st of April 2021 started at around 10am was a fiery , and hotly contested.

 The first schools to take the podium were Movement of Faith (MOF) and Roman Catholic Sec. School on the topic, ‘Temple run is a necessary risk to success for young people in Sierra Leone, do you agree or disagree’. MOF emerge as winner of this first debate scoring 185 points and Roman Catholic Sec School 183.The second debate was between Islamic Secondary School and Schlenkar Secondary School on the topic, ’The family and Community are responsible for the high rate of temple run among young Sierra Leoneans, do you agree or disagree’. Schlenkar emerged winner with 236 point and Islamic Secondary School 232.

Movement of Faith and Schlenkar Secondary school winners of the groups qualified for the finals.

The Final was highly competitive, exchanges between the debaters, points and counter points sent pupils in feats of shouting, the applause, cheering, and ovation from the audience of pupils, teachers, and other onlookers in the DICOVERC hall was deafening.

At the end Schlenkar Senior Secondary School emerged triumphant scoring 314 and Movement of Faith, 194.

 Schlenkar received the winner’s plaque, runners up plaque went to MOF, and Islamic Senior School and Roman Catholic also received a plaque. The debate shed light on the many views held by pupils, teachers, and other members of the community. The debate was a useful mechanism in the dissemination information geared to raise ‘Awareness’. The convergence of different school pupils to debate on various topics on Irregular migration was a novelty in which pupils and teachers of the various schools shared their understanding on irregular migration- ‘Temple Run’.

That inter-school debate in Port Loko became an eye opener and  replicating it  in other schools  regions, districts and towns within the country will considerably contribute to behavioral change  and possibly minimize irregular migration.

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