Student Debates at Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University
Within the framework of the OSGF-funded project "Supporting Student Initiatives through Educational Debates", the Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University hosted a training in parliamentary and political debates as well as a mini tournament on February 18-19. It is the fourth event held by the Civic Development Institute in frames of the project. Debate training has already been held at higher education institutions of Telavi, Akhaltsikhe and Tbilisi.
The project goal is to implement an informal educational program in order to assist young people in becoming free-thinking and active citizens. Furthermore, public meetings and discussions on topical issues help students develop their professional skills, such as critical and analytical thinking, leadership, self-discipline and effective communication. The project aims to establish debate clubs at higher education institutions of Georgia as well as to promote the process of cooperation among students. A revised version of "Supplementary Textbook for Teaching Formal Debates" has already been published in frames of the project. It discusses Karl Popper, political and parliamentary debate formats. 30 students selected through the competition took part in the Batumi training. On February 18-19, they participated in the training on parliamentary and political debate techniques that ultimately helped them use debate skills in discussing the issues interesting to them.
Students named the following topics: waste recycling, forest cutting, air pollution, genetically modified food, hunting animals included in the Red Book, poaching, fishing during the spawning season, problem of landslides in high mountain regions, water pollution, floods, HPP construction. Finally, five topics were selected for debates and a mini tournament was held, during which the knowledge and skills acquired at the training were used in practice.
A two-day forum will be held during the final stage of the project with the participation of 80 students from higher education institutions of four target cities. Professional debate coaches will judge the students. Prizes will be awarded to the winners.