The Scotland wide competition will be open to secondary five and six pupils who will have a chance to compete with other schools in their local authority area in preliminary rounds this summer. From November 2013 the winners of the preliminary rounds will take part in eight regional heats, followed by the semi-finals held in Aberdeen, and the final at STV’s Glasgow studios in spring 2014.
The unique competition will give school pupils, many of who will be eligible to vote in the referendum on independence, the chance to research and discuss issues which will affect the future of Scotland.
STV will provide a platform for debates and cover the competition on air and online. Debating Matters will produce special editions of Topic Guides on the motions for debate.
As well as engaging with the important issues and arguments around the referendum, students will have the opportunity to interact with leading figures at STV and opinion formers from all walks of life who will be judging the young debaters.
Rob Woodward, chief executive of STV, said: “STV is well positioned to provide a platform for debate around the 2014 referendum and this competition will provide a great opportunity to bring the debate to life for school pupils who want to get involved in discussing the big issues. Our partnership with Debating Matters gives young Scots from across the country the chance to have their say in debating Scotland's future constitution.”
Tony Gilland, director of the Institute of Ideas Debating Matters competition, said: “Debating Matters provides an intellectually demanding and rigorous platform for S5 and S6 students to engage in serious discussion of the big questions facing society. Debating Matters is delighted to be working with STV to deliver the Referendum Debate to schools and to encourage young Scots to debate the key issues around the Scottish Independence referendum and Scotland's future direction."
Education Secretary Michael Russell said: “The Referendum on Scotland’s future on September 18, 2014, will give many young people their first voting experience and political engagement.
“Debating is a valuable skill and this historic time in our country’s growth gives us an opportunity to engage and inspire young people to help shape the Scotland they want to grow up in. I would urge schools to give pupils the chance to debate, discuss and explore all the arguments surrounding Scottish independence.”
For further information about the debating competition please visit stv.tv/debate
For further information, please contact the STV press office:-
0141 300 3670 / 07803 970 143
0141 300 3830 / 07921 494 654