About the competition
The Irish Schools debating competition was founded in 1983 and now provides a growing network of schools and students a platform for the discussion of issues and ideas. The competition is one of the largest non-sporting secondary schools competitions in Ireland and is organised by student volunteers from NUIG, UCD, TCD and UCC.
The competition has three regional legs in Munster, West of Ireland and Leinster which select the provincial champions who progress to the National final.
This competition has no equal. The duration of the competition itself is an entire academic year, with a total of 720 students and 120 rounds, ensuring maximum exposure to the sponsor’s name. The competition reaches far beyond just its competitors, with many schools preparing speeches as an exercise within the classroom. When the large groups of supporters attending are also taken into account, the scale of this competition far exceeds its competitors.
The style of this competition is one of its biggest advantages to the students who participate in it. Entrants are given approximately a week to prepare for a motion that they have been given. For first-time speakers, it allows them the opportunity to write out their whole speech and benefit merely from presenting their speech in front of a crowd. For more confident and experienced speakers, the week’s preparation allows them to delve deeper into the issues surrounding the motion and when it comes to the debate, become more comfortable with their individual style of presentation.
The winners of a debate are chosen by their oratory style and their ability to convince the audience that they are right and not simply by their statistical analysis of a problem.
The Schools’ debating competition has become an intrinsic part of the school system in Ireland, with the debate topics often being discussed in class and great encouragement given to participants. Teachers see the benefits their students accrue from the Schools; there are the academic benefits of research and speechwriting, as well as the oratorical experience it gives. When considered along with the unique opportunity this competition gives second level students to form their own opinions on topics ranging from the smoking ban to the middle east, and to have those opinions heard, the importance of this competition cannot be underestimated. This is an event we hope you will choose to become part of.
The majority of the debates are held in rooms in the various universities, which is often the first time the second level students have come into contact with third-level institutions. This allows the students to become more comfortable in the environments of the colleges and lays the foundations for a smooth transition to third level education.