Roughly two weeks ago, a playground fight broke out. The children? Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The playground? The world’s largest economy, the United States of America. Neither of the candidates are renowned for being particularly powerful debaters, however, in the eyes of the many, this was simply poor. 

This “debate,” was two hours long, and two hours wasted of the majority of a whopping 73 million viewers. It seemed inevitable that in a year where problems are finally being pushed towards those in power, that there would be plenty of valid questions. It was also hoped, in vain, that there would be some valid answers. Alas, the two men vouching to be the leader of the world’s largest economy were incapable of this. Watching this woeful debate and it’s shockingly sparse “highlights,” underlines the importance of effective debate.

This was a prime opportunity wasted by both men to gain the voter’s confidence in their vision.

In the same way, every day, we all lose opportunities to have our voices heard, to make our point. If debate were to be a compulsory part of the curriculum then this would be an enjoyable way to inform students about a vast array of topics, whilst also effectively building communication skills in even the least outspoken of students.

Finally, but perhaps most importantly, debate encourages us to argue in favour of ideas we disagree with, and as a result, allows us to empathise with more of those around us and to remove prejudice from within ourselves. This tweak to the education system can change every political system in the world for the better. I’m sure at least 73 million people would agree.

By Arjun Thakar, Saint Olaves Grammar