There was so much cheering and celebration coming from the Nepal camp although their team ended as runners-up at the 2012 Asian Youth Forum Karl Popper Debate Champiionship.
The Nepal 2 team, consisting of Akrish Adhikari, 17, Isha Raut, 17 and Yondeen Sherpa, 16 might not have won the KPDC, but they were happy to have reached the Grand Finals.
The students from the Rato Bangala School in Kathmandu, Nepal, are new to debate and unfamiliar with the Karl Popper debate format.
“My first speech here in Round 1 was only two minutes long because I didn’t know what to say,” Adhikari admitted.
The team was not able to meet and practice in Nepal due to local strikes, on top of having to prepare for two exams, one of which they would take upon their return,
They have surprised even themselves with their improvements in the past five days.
“We didn’t expect to reach the Finals. What we wanted to do was not to make a fool of ourselves. So we just tried to give the other team a good competition,” Sherpa said.
All this progress would not be possible without guidance.
Their coach, Tilak Pathak, supported them by sending reading materials and giving them ideas for their arguments. The team also went to all the judges for feedback and took strategies and ideas from the opposing teams and utilized them in other rounds.
Their learning progress goes beyond debate. With the A levels coming up, they believe debate skills will help them in their General Papers exam, which tests their abilities to write argumentative essays. They have also learned a lot about the culture of the other participants and made many international friends.
Upon their return, the team plans to form a debate club in their school and also one for their community. They would like others to have a foundation in debate, something which they did not have coming here.