Photo Caption: Germaine Barrett (center), founder and executive director of the Jamaican Association for Debating and Empowerment (JADE), leads a conversation with Shanna Kaye Wright Vaughn (left), youth and education programmes lead at JN Foundation and Dr Kasan Troupe, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education and Youth, at the launch event for National Debaters Week at the Faculty of Law at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies on September 28. Dr Troupe committed to having further dialogue with JADE about the future of debating in schools. JN Foundation is supporting JADE with its activities to mark National Debaters Week, which runs from October 7 to 14.
The Jamaican Association for Debating and Empowerment (JADE) has taken another step towards advancing debating locally, with the handing over of a strategic plan to the Ministry of Education and Youth for the phased development of the activity in secondary schools across the country.
Germaine Barrett, founder and executive director of JADE, presented the document to Dr. Kasan Troupe, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education and Youth, during the launch event for National Debaters’ Week (NDW) 2023 at the Faculty of Law on the Mona campus of The University of the West Indies on September 28. The handover follows JADE’s meeting with the leadership of the JN Foundation in September, where Mr. Barrett first revealed the plans. At that meeting, Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation, had emphasized how the art of debating could help solve some societal issues.
Speaking at the launch event to a packed audience of high school students and other specially invited guests, Mr. Barrett shared that the document formed part of the organisation’s plans to get debating to the next level.
He also used the opportunity to call for a meeting with representatives from the Ministry of Education to have further dialogue on the plan and to determine next steps.
“We are requesting a meeting with the Ministry so we can have a conversation to see how we can get this infused into the schools and develop world renowned debating clubs,” he said.
The JADE founder and executive director said he hopes the plan and discussions will help Jamaica catch up to other countries which are already executing a more sustainable approach for debating in schools.
“When you travel overseas, debating is extraordinary, it is ingrained within the curriculum of schools, and I want to challenge the Ministry of Education and Youth to think about doing that so that we can get more critical thinkers, effective communicators, [develop] better conflict management and all of those beautiful things that can be derived from debate.”
Dr. Troupe committed to meeting with JADE and said the public “will be hearing more from the ministry about a bigger investment in debating.”
The permanent secretary, who was also the guest speaker for the National Debaters’ Week launch event, said the ministry is committed to revolutionising the school curriculum and making a difference with the learning programmes for students. Pointing to the new National Standards Curriculum, she noted that it has been reviewed and endorsed by the top performing countries in education, Finland and Singapore.
The permanent secretary also commended JADE for its work in advancing debating in the island, as well as the students for having an interest in debating, describing the art as a critical skill for leaders.
“There are no losses in a competition of debating. You can either win or learn, you can never lose,” she said.
National Debaters’ Week (NDW) 2023 will run from October 7- 14. JADE is executing a series of activities to celebrate the week, with the support of the JN Foundation. The week’s activities include the Caribbean Conference on Dialogue and Debate (CCDD), which is scheduled to be held at the University of Technology, Jamaica on October 12.
For the full list of events and to register to participate in the activities, persons can visit myjade.org.