“It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.” - Joseph Joubert 

Debating is an excellent school tool to encourage higher-order and critical thinking skills. It teaches students to compose and organise their thoughts while also developing their analytical and research skills. Besides, it hones effective public speaking. The length and breadth of knowledge that they gain through this is simply unparalleled. In keeping to the aim and objectives of the said scholastic activity, Unity College organised the ‘Inter-House English Debate Competition’ on 27th August, 2022. 

The arena was set for the war of words in two categories- Junior for classes IV to VIII, and Senior for classes IX to XII. The Juniors expressed their views emphatically and enthusiastically on the topic “Teachers are better for learning than the Internet”, while the Seniors articulated eloquently on the contemporary issue, “Is Artificial Intelligence Dangerous?” The Seniors got three topics to prepare. On the final Day, an hour before the debate, the topic was declared viaa chit system.

As both the propositions are hot in the present day discussion, the arguments and the counter arguments presented a wide perspective of Teacher vs Internet and the constructive as well as destructive aspects of artificial intelligence. Neither can totally be ignored nor embraced to the verge of total dependency. The audience applauded each contestant for expressing his/her views with ease and conviction. 

The highlight of the event was the Rebuttal Round, as a volley of questions were answered confidently by both the sides, inviting counter questions which were aptly answered by witty and vivacious speakers. The session was a kaleidoscope of opinions, thoughts, ideas and perspectives that definitely enhanced the knowledge and understanding of the topic among students.

College Joint Secretary Dr. M. Talha appreciated the oratory skills and logical views put up by the contestants. He also shed light on some significant traits of a good debater.

The panel of Judges comprised Ms. Shabana Ahmed- Principal-Unity College II Shift, Lucknow and Ms. Sidra Jamal- Psychology Teacher. The young speakers were judged on the basis of content, expression, demeanour, fluency, argument and compliance to the time limit. 

In Juniors, the Best Speaker ‘For’ was bagged by Mantasha Zehra of Sir Syed House, followed by Anam Zehra of Tagore House as Runners Up, while the Best Speaker ‘Against’ was received by S. Wali Haider of Tagore House and Runners Up by Safia Naqvi of Sir Syed. The Best of the Besties became S. Wali Haider.

In Jeniors, Sania Zehra of Sir Syed House received the Best Speaker ‘For’, followed by Batool Uzma of Iqbal House as Runners Up, while Batool Fatima of Sir Syed House clinched the Best Speaker ‘Against’, followed by Azam Abbas of Gandhi House as the Runners Up. The Best Speaker award was clinched by Batool Fatima. Overall, Sir Syed House was declared the Champion House.

Both the Judges appreciated the confidence, reliability and conviction with which the debaters put forward the pros and cons. They were of the viewthat humans should design and create Artificial Intelligence in such a way that they are more beneficial than devastating.

Principal Mr. Francis Castelino appreciated the good efforts put in by the students and teachers for the grand success of the event. The curtain drew on the arena of words with the words of wisdom for one and all in this era of AI and ML.

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