Seven students achieved top scores in this year’s DSE, and two of them had been participants in the Sing Tao Inter-School Debating Competition.
They are Chiu Yi-nap of Po Leung Kuk Tang Yuk Tien College and Chan Lok-yung of St Stephen’s Girls’ College, who is also the school’s first student to attain perfect scores.
As usual, the top students became the center of media attention.
Chiu’s school principal said he was good in three aspects: academic, activities and conduct – all-round excellence not often seen.
Chiu took part in the English section of last year’s 35th Sing Tao Inter-School Debating Competition, in which his team was second runner-up. As captain, Chiu’s language ability as well as thinking and oratory skills must be outstanding.
I trust that contestants who managed to beat the DSE top scorer’s team in that competition must have done well in the exam too.
Many student activities were suspended last year due to the pandemic, but Sing Tao persisted with completing the debate online.
Colleagues who expended much effort to see the debating event were naturally elated that participants came out of the DSE exams with flying colors, bringing me the news at once.
Chan, who took part in the competition’s Chinese section two years ago, is interested in public affairs, which shows that she has an active mind and is not only good at cramming for exams.
Participation in debates trains students in thinking ability and intelligence quotient as they need to perform well on the spot.
Some students who do well in normal times might slip up in public exams due to stress. Such an impediment can, in fact, be overcome by taking part more in public speaking and debating. The experience is particularly helpful in oral examinations.
In the past, winning teams in Sing Tao’s competition came mostly from old-time famous schools. But this has changed in recent years. Many schools that have made a name for themselves in their districts, like Po Leung Kuk Tang Yuk Tien College, are catching up.
The competition is team-based, so training at the school and guidance from the teachers are crucial for success.
In recent years, Sing Tao has added more prizes, like the best motion and most improved school awards to recognize individual debaters from schools that had yet to rise to the top. And one goal that we have set for ourselves is to help weaker schools achieve good results in the competition.
Siu Sai-wo is publisher of Sing Tao Daily