CCC Kei Yuen College are through to the grand final of the Division One A, 14th Nesta-SCMP debating competition, after defeating Carmel Secondary School. The schools debated the motion: "ESF should lose its government subvention."
The Kei Yuen team - Form Four student Teresa Yu Ji-ching, and Maxine Law Man-sum and Sakura Lee Ka-yee from Form Five - supported the motion. Carmel's Form Five students Janice Lee Hoi-ying, Dorothy Kwok Hiu-lam and Felix Yiu Sum-ping opposed it.
The debate was adjudicated by Anne Kiely from Yuen Long Lutheran Secondary School and Elizabeth Peterson from Po Kok Secondary School.
Kei Yuen argued that the ESF (English Schools Foundation) has a record of mishandling funds, and that it is unfair for taxpayers to subsidise their operation. They questioned why ESF schools should benefit financially from the government while other international schools with similar curriculums do not.
Carmel said that government funding for ESF schools is necessary because it provides affordable education for expatriate children, and that education is a major factor that attracts expatriates to Hong Kong.
In their rebuttal, Kei Yuen said ESF education is not affordable, because it charges parents HK$500,000 to reserve a place at one of their schools. They also pointed out that although ESF schools have government subsidies, their school fees are not particularly low compared to other international schools.
Adjudicators felt that both sides had strong rebuttals, and in the end, the decision came down to which school had better teamwork. "All speakers from CCC Kei Yuen College were able to stick to the team line and restate it throughout the debate," said Peterson. "The clear, strong emphasis on the team line earned them the victory."
Debaters from both sides earned praise for the high quality of their research, but adjudicators advised them not to pack too much information into their speeches. "The pace of a speech is very important. Don't sacrifice clarity for the amount of information that you want to present," Peterson said.
Carmel's third speaker, Felix Yiu, was named the best speaker. "He was fantastic, making use of powerful words to persuade the audience," said Peterson.
The debate was held on May 28 at CCC Kei Yuen College at Yuen Long.
The Division One A grand final between Kei Yuen and Steward's Pooi Kei Secondary School will take place on June 27 at City University. The teams will debate the motion: "Young people in Hong Kong are growing up in a society which encourages negative attitudes towards people from the mainland."
For more information on the final, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The contest, which is sponsored by The Edge Learning Centre, is organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association and South China Morning Post