Debate on class size a close tussle

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 March, 2009, 12:00am

Small-class teaching has stirred controversy in Hong Kong's education sector. Recently, HKSYCIA Wong Tai Shan Memorial College beat Pentecostal School in a debate on whether the class size of secondary schools should be limited to 30 students.

The event was part of the Nesta/SCMP Inter-school Debating Competition, which is organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association and sponsored by the South China Morning Post.

The contest is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, with 53 schools taking part.

There are three preliminary rounds. Teams who win two out of three move on to the next stage.

In the recent first-round debate, Pentecostal School was the affirmative team, but they had no answers to Memorial College's strong arguments.

'It was really a pleasant surprise to win. I have to admit our opponents' delivery was stronger, but we had stronger rebuttals and arguments which carried us through,' said Kera Wong Tsz-ying, a From Six student from Memorial College.

'This is the first time I've taken part in a formal debating competition. We started preparing for the debate two weeks ago and I am very happy to see our hard work pay off.'

Event co-ordinator and adjudicator Stan Dyer said the debate was a closely fought affair. 'Pentecostal School's presentation was better, but Memorial College had stronger arguments,' Mr Dyer said.

'Pentecostal School still has a chance because this is not a win-or-go-home type of competition. They still have two more debates coming up. There are more opportunities for teams to regroup and improve. It will be a great learning experience.'