Wednesday 17 March 2010 at 13:00 hours at the Municipal Council of Curepipe.

The Public Speaking Competition is an elocution contest that was launched in 1994 by the English-Speaking Union (‘ESU’) for students between 16 to years inclusive. It has now become an important yearly event in the calendar of activities of the ESU. Since its inception to-date, the interest of students in the Public Speaking Competition has grown steadily.

The ESU is pleased to announce that for the year 2010, the number of students who participated rose to 102 as opposed to 70 in the year 2009. A corresponding increase has been noted as regards the number of secondary schools that have participated namely, from 49 schools in the year 2009 the number rose to 67 schools for the year 2010.

The aim of this competition is to equip students with the skills of thinking clearly, speaking persuasively and listening to the opinions of others critically and constructively.

It enables young people to test and demonstrate their fluency in English.

The objectives of the Public Speaking Competition are three-fold, namely:

–  to provide young people with practical experience in the fundamental skills of public speaking;

–  to provide a focus for the effective learning of English and communication skills; and

– to provide students with the opportunity to meet, exchange views and form friendship within the global village.

The heats are organized both in Mauritius and Rodrigues. In Mauritius five heats were organized across the various educational zones. In Rodrigues a separate competition was held. The finalist for Rodrigues forms part of the 8 Mauritian Finalists, which makes up the figure of 9 finalists.

In relation to the subject-matter of the speeches, the ESU has given schools and students the freedom to choose their themes. However, once students reach the Finals, it is mandatory that students adopt the theme chosen by ESU London.  For 2010, the theme will be “Speculation on our future”.

Last year, Mr Sebastien Ng Kuet Leong’s success at the International Public Speaking Competition has boosted the appeal and relevance of the National Public-Speaking Competition organised by the ESU.  This was the very first time a Mauritian has won this prestigious International competition.  It was widely acclaimed as a matter of national pride and in the field of education with particular emphasis on the use of the English language in Mauritius.

During the Annual Dinner of the ESU that was held in July 2009, the President of the Republic described Mr Ng Kuet Leong’s performance as an “outstanding success that has brought pride to our country. You are today the pride, not only for your parents, teachers and classmates but also for the whole nation”.  The ESU President, Ms. Sharmilla Bhima, declared that Mr Ng Kuet Leong had become “the role model of the youth of today”.

The ESU is confident that Mr Ng Kuet Leong’s success has motivated more students to come forward and participate in the National Public Speaking Competition organised by the ESU.

The ESU is pleased to announce that one of the Finalists for last year, Ms. T. Carrim, has won a State Scholarship this year.

The ESU would like to think that the exceptional performance of both Mr. Ng Kuet Leong and Ms. Carrim will be an inspiration and an encouragement to students that coming first is within the reach of every competitor. And, that their example will motivate students aim for a high standard both in their academic discipline at school and when they participate in activities having an educational value.

The ESU is extremely grateful to HSBC Mauritius and the HSBC Global Education Trust for having generously sponsored the entirety of the Public Speaking Competition.

Sandeep Uppal, CEO HSBC: “We are proud to partner the English Speaking Union who has done a tremendous job of organising this competition. Other than promoting the use of English language, the competition will also assist students in developing skills that are essential for business today.  We are delighted that the global finals will take place at our Head Office in London and we hope that the Mauritius representative once again does the country proud.”

The International Public Speaking Competition will be held in London from 17th to 21st May 2010 at the headquarters of HSBC.

Advik Goorah of College du St Esprit was unanimously declared the 2010 Winner of the Public Speaking Competition.  The title of his speech “Tiny hands hold humanity at gunpoint” was in line with this year’s theme “Speculation on our future”.  Ms Feroza N. Jowaheer of Queen Elizabeth College whose speech was entitled “Renaissance of marriage in the future” was the runner-up.

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