AFKAR launches its National Debate Competition program

Ramallah – AFKAR for Educational & Cultural Development has launched its National Debate Competition (NDC) annual program – the first of its kind – to be executed nationally for Palestinian schools during the scholastic year of 2013-2014. The program targeted 16 Directorates of Education within the West Bank, including Jerusalem, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the funding of Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the Pontifical Mission/ Jerusalem.

This year, AFKAR will be targeting approximately 960 students and 96 teachers within 192 schools, to be exposed to debating techniques and standards, in addition to many participatory tools and methods. Those tools and methods will help the target group prepare excellently for the final competition of the program. NDC is divided into four stages. First of all, training phase: 16 supervisors within the Ministry of Education, representing 16 directorates of education, are targeted and trained on debating basics & mechanisms and communication skills, in addition to managerial and organizational skills to run the program efficiently with school teachers and coordinators. Second, coaching phase: AFKAR conducts sessions with the same supervisors to get feedback and give it as well, regarding the supervisors’ progress with schools and their coordinators.  Third, semi-final eliminations: only 16 winning debating teams, representing the 16 directorates, are chosen to compete in the finale. And finally, performance phase: all what has been done and worked on all year long comes to practice. It is worth mentioning that AFKAR just finished executing the first phase of the program, and is working on preparing teachers and students for upcoming phases.

NDC has formed a quantum leap in disseminating the concept of debate amongst students, teachers and supervisors for the past four years. It has become a widely thrilling program for the students. Not only that, but also for teachers as it motivates them to execute it with the readiness and effectiveness it needs. NDC has also become a corner stone within the ministry’s strategic plan for students’ activities. Through that, AFKAR makes sure to emphasize the cooperation and partnership with the ministry in organizing competitions for students nationally in order to reach as many schools as possible.

AKFAR for Educational & Cultural Development strives to provide qualitative opportunities for students through launching the Palestinian Debate Forum Competition (PDFC). AFKAR believes that students are the pillar of the learning process and that they deserve the best of all qualitative opportunities. Based on the aforementioned, the organization excelled in implementing the program gradually and steadily in order to disseminate the experience all over the Palestinian governorates. The forum’s committee has been working on evaluating the program since its launch in 2009, through the target group’s feedback on the experience. Today, and after 5 years of hard work, we truly realize its effects on the quality of learning and certain skills. Those skills are mainly critical thinking, recognizing the difference between opinions and facts, critical reading, communicating with others and the daily practice of different approaches and values such as dialogue, debate, respect to others and the culture of diversity.

So far, we can say that this experience has been an effective, sustainable model that needs to be disseminated.  In fact, AFKAR, during the whole program, witnesses the full practice of the participatory approach techniques and the effective use of scientific research methodologies, in addition to many skills that the students and teachers obtain through their progress in the program.

It is worth mentioning that the organization, after signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Education, has implemented its educational and cultural programs in Palestine, targeting students of all ages. Furthermore, AFKAR strives to widen its target group and spread the culture of debate, as we lack it in our society.

It is also worth mentioning that last year’s national debating team consists of 6 students, who are from Jericho, South Hebron, Bethlehem and Tulkarem directorates. Those students will represent Palestine within its governorates and abroad.

PDFC, which is exclusively implemented by AFKAR for Educational & Cultural Development in Palestinian schools, aims to exposing youth leaderships within schools and societal institutions to a different culture of debate, based on scientific research, proven information, respect to human rights’ values, basic rules of dialogue and debate, and dealing with the “other”. This definitely reflects positively in the developmental policies, taking into account that change cannot be achieved unless youth leaderships, whom we consider to be our future, are extensively exposed to development.



 National Debate Competition


برومو مؤسسة أفكار للتطوير التربوي والثقافي