August 9, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
Two Fourah Bay College (FBC) female students are back home after excelling at the Impact Africa International Debate Championship, held in Ghana last month
Julia Mary Gbloh and Patricia Koroma students of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, studying Law and Political Science, respectively.
Addressing the media last Friday at the office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor of FBC, Head of Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, Mrs. Memunatu Pratt said the achievement of the duo was good success by the University of Sierra Leone. She noted that university authorities, including lecturers, have been able to bring hope to students despite numerous challenges at the college.
“80 percent of the intake of this university is good and that is why we are continuing to excel at the international level. There have been dramatic changes in the way things are being done at this university as the administration has been supporting all positive programmes here,” she averred.
She said the impact of new departments like Mass Communication, Peace and Conflict Studies, among other departments, and the number of students who are pursuing their post graduate degrees in Peace and Conflict Studies, Mass Communication etc., shows that the college was doing very well, adding that FBC has the highest number of products in the UNDP international programmes.
“We are changing our story internationally as all people know about our country are wars and Ebola,” she said.
Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor of FBC, Engineer Dr. Badamasie Savage, said it was the second time in recent years that FBC has participated in an international competition and that each time the competitors have returned with laurels.
“The two female students were coached by Teddy Foday-Musa, a lecturer at the Peace and Conflict Studies Department. FBC is going through very difficult times but it is also important for the correct information about the college to go out there in the public. The story of FBC is not just bad news, there is good news as well,” he said.
He disclosed that 19 contestants took part in the competition, two students per each team, with the FBC duo emerging sixth among thirty-eight contestants in debate and first in the public speaking competition.
“The time for the preparation for the competition was very short, but the training provided by Teddy Musa was intense and that was why our students did well. If you go to every departments of FBC, you will see students who could compete with their peers at international level. That’s what FBC does,” he said and added that despite the challenges authorities at FBC do not compromise quality of standards set that should be achieved.
The Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, Dr. Dante Allie Bendu, said the two students of his faculty did extremely well at the international scene, and thanked the University of Sierra Leone for empowering his faculty to reviewing the courses.
“These laurels brought to FBC by our students are remarkable. We will continue to press on and the faculty will support any activity of such so as to showcase Sierra Leone’s potential at the international arena,” he said.
Giving the highlights of the event, Teddy Foday-Musa, said the contestants were not handpicked but rather paved their way through the various debate competitions they had participated in. He said four countries – Sierra Leone, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Nigeria – participated in the contest, with 38 contestants.
“The system was the British Parliamentary debate format. They organisers labeled the teams in colours and the University of Sierra Leone was given a green colour. There were seven minutes allocated for each debater and there were nine rounds in the preliminary stage,” he explained.
He disclosed that the student from the Law Department was ranked as sixth best debater while her counterpart in the Peace and Conflict Studies Department was ranked first in public speaking competition, adding that he was also awarded ‘best adjudicator’ as a chief judge of the debate competition.
One of the contestants, Julia Mary Gbloh, said Sierra Leoneans of this generation have a duty to rewrite the story of the country that had battled with war and Ebola, noting that some competitors had never met Sierra Leoneans but they left a lasting impression with them.
“Because we were fair in complexion, many of the contestants quizzed us if all Sierra Leoneans are fair. Our response was that it isn’t like that, there are some black in complexion people as well,” he said, adding that some competitors did not even know about Sierra Leone and that they had to Google the country.
She dedicated the trophy to all students of Sierra Leone.
Patricia Koroma said the competition was an eye opener to them because it served as a platform where they learnt a lot of things.