Debato 2021: Bengaluru-based edtech start-up, SoME successfully concludes the second season of India’s only online debating competition for teens
* Organised by School of Meaningful Experiences (SoME), the second season of Debato – in English and Hindi – saw more than 300 students participate from across India. * The grand finale on Teacher’s Day saw winners take home prizes worth INR one lakh, along with the certificate of participation for all.
Bengaluru : Should citizens who choose not to vote in state and general elections be fined? Should the RBI have complete autonomy over its alignment with the Government? Should Bollywood actors be politically outspoken on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram? Should native communities of a state be given the sole right to control the use and distribution of their art? Should the mother of a young child from a middle-class family take up a lucrative job offer?
The rebuttals flew hard and fast as more than 300 students from across India deliberated over these thought-provoking questions at Debato 2021. Conducted by Bengaluru-based edtech startup, the School of Meaningful Experiences (SoME), Debato is India’s first online debate competition for students aged between 12 and 19 years. The grand finale of the second season took place on September 5, 2021, to coincide with Teacher’s Day, and the winners took home prizes worth INR one lakh, along with a certificate of participation for all. The debaters participated in teams of three, and the finalists cleared preliminaries, quarter and semifinals to reach the grand finale, which was live-streamed on YouTube.
The parliamentary form of debates – conducted in Hindi and English – spanned over five days. The participants put forth compelling arguments and handled sensitive topics with remarkable maturity. The contestants were from schools across India, including Delhi Public School, Podar International School, Amity International School, Sri Aurobindo Centre of New Education, and Cathedral School, among several others. Students from international cities such as Hanoi, Vietnam also took part.
Sudha Rajesh, instructor, SoME and entrepreneur Ravi Shankar were the judges at the event.
The success of Debato 2021 is a testament to how dedicated online educational initiatives for kids can improve their learning, critical thinking and teamwork. It also reiterates the need for a learning environment that encourages debating among students from an early age.
Talking about Debato, Rakesh Godhwani, Co-Founder & CEO of SoME, said, “At SoME, we realise that increasingly technology is viewed as a villain, especially when it comes to how it impacts children and youngsters. However, we sincerely believe that it can be a highly interactive enabler when leveraged as means to a purposeful end. Thus, Debato was born last year as a platform to bring together young, isolated students from different parts of the country to debate about subjects that continue to shape the future. The response was so overwhelming that it strengthened our resolve to build Debato as an annual event enhancing students’ online extra-curricular experience.”
“The triumph of last year’s competition gave us clear insights into what works best in terms of the event framework, structure, topics, and the overall approach when it comes to the online format. Accordingly, Debato 2021 was about multiple rounds and opportunities, team strength and collaboration, and a jury that focused on coherence, the strength of arguments, and rebuttals. Gauging from the wonderful participation and overall response, it would be safe to say that we have created an engaging platform for young minds to learn powerful lessons and hone their debating skills, added Rakesh.
Post debates Rakesh also chaired an interesting panel discussion on the importance of debate in a democracy with Ira Sisodia, Founder of Kitaabo, The Bluecity children’s literature festival, Mr Maran, CEO of Kaar Technologies, Ms Nidhi Mishra, Founder and CEO of Bookosmia, Murari Sharan Gupta, Founder of Samam Center for Movement, Sudarshan Gangrade, Founder of Lo! foods, and Simran Godhwani, Co-Founder of SoME and Founder of Krshala Dance Theatre.