JOHOR BAHRU, 25 Aug. — Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) for the first time hosted the UTM International Mandarin Language Varsity Debate Competition which involved students from various universities to sharpen their thinking skills and produce holistic graduates.
Its aim was also to foster a culture of effective communication through scientific discussions and enhancing self-confidence in the participants.
The competition featured 84 participants from 12 local universities, including public and private universities including the National University of Singapore (NUS).
The competition was organized by the UTM De’Pikir Club, a club that is the platform for UTM Students to learn the art of debate and speech as well as the opportunity to represent UTM in any competition organized by the Malaysian University Debate Council (MADUM).
The closing ceremony was officiated by the Deputy Minister of Education, the Honorable Teo Nie Ching.
In her welcoming speech, she congratulated all committee members in organizing the competition.
“A good start for all the students and a great milestone for UTM De’Pikir Club.
I hope such platform can be organised annually, not only Mandarin debate, but also for English and Malay,” she said.
According to her, the development of debate will stimulate and motivate students’ mindset to think from different perspectives so that students will have critical thinking mind-set of current affairs.
“This is in-line with the government’s commitment to creating academic independence and kick-starting a reform process at higher learning institutions which involves students by allowing our students to speak up on various topics,'” she added.
During this competition, Universiti Malaya was announced as champion and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia was the runner-up.
Also present was UTM Deputy Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Prof. Dr. Durrishah binti Idrus.
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, which is known as a public research-intensive university in engineering, science and technology, as the organizer, had purposely prepared topics related to some technological issues such as “Gene Editing will enlarge/minimize the gap between social class”, and “Recreation of derivative work obey/disobey the professional ethics”, to name a few.
The aim of creating these technological topics was to encourage debaters to discover and think about the conflict between technology and morality nowadays.
The event was organized to introduce a healthy culture of communication through scientific discussions.
In addition, organizing the competition was also one of the strategies to increase students’ understanding and awareness of current issues, especially in the technology area at the regional and global level through the acquisition of the latest knowledge.
In the current Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) era, students are not only required to excel in academic field but also have to develop more soft skills in themselves.
Debating helps students to develop their communication skill, critical thinking skill and increasing their self-confidence when talking in front of people. Students will also be more concerned about the current issues in the society.
Besides, teamwork is also one of the important skills that can be learnt in debate as students need to collaborate with each other.
Therefore, students have been encouraged to participate in such debating program so that it helps students in developing those skills.
This exposure is vital for students so as to help them during their working life in the future.