Nicolson pupils to debate ‘harmful’ internet in national competition

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Pupils from schools across Scotland, including pupils from the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway, are getting ready to debate the pros and cons of the internet in the opening rounds of the Law Society of Scotland’s annual debating tournament.

The Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament will see 128 teams from 102 Scottish schools put their powers of persuasion to the test when they debate the motion ‘This House believes that the internet does more harm than good’.

Now in its 16th year, the competition is the biggest school debating tournament in Scotland and 14 more schools have entered for the first time this year.

Laura Gulliver, Careers and Outreach Manager at the Law Society, said: “It’s great to see so many schools entering teams in tournament and we’re delighted to have 14 schools taking part for the first time.”

“The internet is an amazing resource – from finding out about just about anything there is to know, doing shopping or booking a holiday - but of course there are issues around security and online criminal activity.

“We’ve set our teams a challenge by asking if the internet is harmful and I’m looking forward to hearing the arguments they put forward.

“Debating is a great skill to have which as well as being good fun. Many schools now have debating clubs and they really encourage pupils to learn how to build convincing arguments and give them a voice to express their views and opinions.

“The June final in the Scottish Parliament’s debating chamber was an exciting finish to the last tournament, with superb performances from some very talented young people, some who had entered the competition for the first time, as they debated whether the media should restrict coverage of terrorist attacks.”

The Law Society awards the first prize of £1,000 and the top two teams will share educational books to the value of £500 donated by the event sponsor, Hodder Gibson.

The opening rounds take place on will take place on 19, 25 November and 3 December.