Arts and Entertainment

Competitive debating yet to rise in Nepal

- Rose Singh, Kathmandu

Dec 12, 2018-

Debating is a fairly new competitive sport in Nepal. And like most competitive activities, debating requires skill, precision and quick wit. It is an exercise in Aristotelian rhetoric, where participants go through levels of argumentation.


Debate Network Nepal (DNN), established in 2015, is one of the organisations leading the debate charge in the country. DNN has organised over 35 national and international tournaments and conducts workshops at schools, colleges and universities in about 20 districts. It has also worked with various political parties like Bibeksheel Nepali and even governmental bodies like the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) and Budhanilkantha Municipality, where it trained youths on debate, research, public speaking, social service and helped establish an social welfare organisation called Yuwanilkantha.


“Debate entails conversations about topics and issues that are not usually dealt with, increasing the intellectual level of debaters,” said Pawan Adhikari, DNN vice-chair. “Every motion is carefully chosen to bring about more critical and analytically framed points.”


Debate serves to make people more empathetic towards world issues they aren’t directly affected by. When people are aware of world issues, understand what the problems and crisis are and are able to take sides not based upon feelings but rather what’s right or wrong, only then can we expect a better world for the future generation, said Adhikari. 


DNN also organises national debate competitions and selects winning teams to represent Nepal at international tournaments. The selected teams go through rigorous training before they go on to debate internationally. But so far, the Nepali teams have not performed as expected. The highest that Nepal has placed is 28th out of 64 participating countries. However, in regional tournaments, like Ascension 2018, organised by the Independent University of Bangladesh, they’ve done better--Ang Sonam Sherpa from DNN was named best speaker at the finals.  


A lack of support from academic institutions and the limited popularity of debate are what are leading to Nepal’s failure to perform better internationally, said Adhikari. But for Nepal to bag more trophies, international exposure is vital, he said.


Every year, DNN organises the MahaKumbha tournament, which is where a Nepali team is selected to compete at the World School Debating Championship. This year’s MahaKumbha 2018, 5th National School Debating Championship, will be held from December 26-29 at Kathmandu Model College, Balkumari, Lalitpur.

Published: 12-12-2018 09:13

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