Three Senior High Schools (SHS), Accra Wesley Girls, Odorgonno and O’Reilly — yesterday emerged winners of separate debates on Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The maiden inter-schools debate, jointly organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration with Media Response, a non-state group, was part of the 48th anniversary of the ECOWAS.
Established on May 28, 1975 via the treaty of Lagos, ECOWAS is a 15-member regional group with a mandate of promoting economic integration in all fields of activity of the constituting countries.
Based on the anniversary theme; “Towards Shared Prosperity,” the six participating schools, all based in Accra, were paired to argue for and against three motions.
In the first debate on the motion “ECOWAS can help us develop faster as a country, together with their neighbours,” the Accra Wesley Girls team which argued against the motion, scored 83.3 to beat Action SHS.
With 0.2 points difference, Odorgonno SHS bagged 68.5 per cent to win its debate with Christian Methodist on the motion “Thanks to ECOWAS, citizens of West Africa can move and trade freely in the region.”
O’Reilly reigned over Preset Pacesetters SHS in the debate on “Has ECOWAS positively impacted the lives of the youth in West Africa?” in which the scores were 83.3 per cent and 68.3 per cent respectively.
The winning schools received GH¢2, 000 each and the others, GH¢1, 500 each while all schools were given citations, certificates of participation and other items.
It was a show of confidence, cleverness and charisma as the students argued for and against the motions with figures, facts and funny comments to captivate the audience made up of ECOWAS officials and students.
Earlier the Resident Representative of ECOWAS to Ghana, Mr Baba Gana Wakil, said the debate was significant because it would help shape the future of ECOWAS through the young people.
“We are on our way out. We have laid the foundation. It is the responsibility of the upcoming generation to build upon it. The debate will expose them to the history, vision and structure of ECOWAS. It will sensitise them,” he said.
Mr Wakil said in the coming years, the students and the African youth in general would play critical roles in the ECOWAS integration agenda and realise the vision that had lingered on for years.
The acting Chief Director of the Ministry, Rames Cleland, said while ECOWAS had achieved some successes, the vision was yet to be completed while challenges like security threats, economic disparities and inadequate infrastructure development remained unsolved.
He said the debate had presented the youth an opportunity to deepen the understanding of regional integration and explore innovative solutions to challenges.