8 February 2013

Rwanda: Debate Competitions to Mark Governance Month Kick Off

AS PART OF activities to mark the ongoing Governance Month campaign, students across the country have started debating on various key aspects of the nation's socio-economic development.

The debate sessions kicked off Wednesday afternoon with a discussion between students from the National University of Rwanda (NUR) and the Catholic University of Rwanda (CUR).

About 22 universities and other institutions of higher learning as well as eight selected secondary schools are due to participate in the debates across the country, according to Robert Haguma, the in-charge of civic education at the Rwanda Governance Board.

The winning schools will be awarded on March 15, when the campaign will end, the official said.

The debates

Debates will focus around issues related to the socio-economic development of the population, and the country in general.

According to Haguma, the initiative seeks to enhance people participation in the governance of the country.

Debate is a key element of good governance, the governance chief told The New Times after the Wednesday's session at the NUR main auditorium.

"This is engaging the youth to see what role they can play in the nation's development,"Haguma added.

He said the debates will enlighten the youth on the rationale and principles of good governance and called upon the youth to remain active during the month-long good governance campaign. He also urged the youth to participate in all governance programmes.

Pacifique Ntagara Mwizerwa, a student at the Catholic University of Rwanda and one of the debaters, told this paper that debates help the youth to develop self-confidence and value their ideas.

"Many young individuals lack self-confidence and a few are those who think their ideas matter for the country," Ntagara regretted.

"When we debate on the country's development policies, it is an indication that our ideas and contribution [to the nation's development] are vital," she added.

Launched late last month, the Governance Month seeks to reinforce citizen participation in governance with a focus on deepening good governance practices and sustainable development.

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