Christian Alliance Cheng Wing Gee College was crowned champion of the Hong Kong Secondary Schools Debating Competition Term One New Territories East, after defeating PLK Laws Foundation College.
The schools debated the motion that Hong Kong's education system is a disadvantage for males. The debate was held on Monday at PLK Laws Foundation College in Po Lam.
The team from PLK Laws Foundation College, Careen Chow Kit-ying, Thomas Chung Yui-hin and Brandon Wong Jun-fung, all from Form Four, supported the motion. Fifth formers from CA Cheng Wing Gee College, Cherry Chan Hok-man, Dickson Kwok Chung-hang and Chris So Hiu-chun, debated against it.
The debate was adjudicated by Richard Chapman, native English teacher from HKWMA Chu Shek Lun Secondary School.
The affirmative side built their argument on the fact that there are less boys attending band one schools and government-funded universities.
They pointed out that girls have an advantage in the HKDSE because three of the four core subjects in the exam - Chinese, English and liberal studies - focus on language. Research has shown that while boys and girls have the same level of intelligence, girls tend to be better at languages.
Their opponents said both boys and girls in Hong Kong study the same curriculum and go through the same assessment process, so the local education system does not put boys at a disadvantage.
Speakers from the negative side suggested that the education system does not focus only on academic performance. There are opportunities for students to showcase their talents in sports, drama, debating and other areas.
The adjudicator said both teams made a strong argument, but he was hoping to see more engagement between the opposing sides. Chapman added that this made it difficult to choose a winner.
"I decided to give the edge to CA Cheng Wing Gee College because they were able to give a more comprehensive view of the motion," he said. "The affirmative side only focused on the HKDSE system to demonstrate their case."
CA Cheng Wing Gee challenged the HKDSE argument by saying that other factors like family background and work ethic affect boys' performance in exams. They were able to convince the adjudicator that the local education system is fair.
Chapman noted the opening speakers from both teams could have better presented their team's outline.
"It is the responsibility of the first speaker to give the audience a clear breakdown of which speaker is going to present and to introduce the team line," he said.
Thomas, the second speaker from PLK Laws Foundation College, was named the best speaker.
"Thomas presented their case clearly," said Chapman. "He made use of lively examples to support his arguments."