The annual K-Nsiah debate by the Ghana Biochemistry Students’ Association-KNUST was organized on Friday 19th February, 2016 at the College of Science Auditorium. This year’s edition saw many interesting topics related to obesity and diabetes, entrepreneurship, quality of graduates and research funding.
The first contest was between the first and third year BSc Biochemistry debate teams who debated on the topic “Diabetes and Obesity are now big global health issues. Increase in sugar taxes will break the cycle of Obesity and Diabetes.” The first year debate team argued for the motion and held that increasing sugar taxes will lead to less consumption of sugar. The opponents however noted that causes of diabetes and obesity are multi-factorial and sugar is not the only risk factor. Moreover, increasing taxes will increase the cost of living for many Ghanaians. The first debate ended with the first year team emerging as winners. The judge congratulated the team and recommended that education can be a relevant tool in preventing diabetes and obesity.
The second debate was on the topic “it is the non-enterprising Biochemist who will belong to the association of unemployed graduates.” The contest was between the second and fourth year Biochemistry debate teams. The second year team argued for the motion and noted that starting a business requires little funding and a well-trained biochemist should have the requisite skills to work for a company or start a business. The fourth year debate team emphasized that although the biochemistry graduate may have the requisite skills, funding and experience are the major limitations to his/her job prospects. The second contest ended with the second year team as winners.
In the third contest, the fourth year team debated with the third year team on the topic “the universities in Ghana are well positioned towards producing suitable graduates for nation building.” The fourth year team debated for the motion and held that Ghanaian universities are accredited and have a proven track record of producing quality graduates for nation building. Further, Ghanaian universities have collaborated with top international universities to design and implement quality programs locally. The third year debate team argued that universities in Ghana lack adequate personnel and facilities for training suitable graduates. They stressed that local contracts are often given to foreign workers due to incompetence of local graduates. This was a heated debate and the fourth year team won the contest.
The final debate was between the first and second year debate team on the motion “research funding remains a huge burden on both governmental and non-government funding agencies. Should such agencies continue supporting scientific research?” The first year team for the motion highlighted the importance of research funding in developed countries. They noted that sponsorship of research have led to significant improvements in areas such as communication and transportation globally. The second year team countered that some of the major issues include embezzlement of funds and misuse of funds. They also noted funding agencies often direct the outcome of the research and they focus on their interest rather than the benefit of the research to the whole society. The debate ended with the first years emerging as winners.
Overall the debate was very educative and the first year debate team were crowned the overall winners of the 2016 K-Nsiah debate.
Reported by: Bright Afranie, KNUST correspondent