The Bregado Flax Educational Centre Secondary Division (BFEC) and the Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) are the final two schools to advance to the semi-final round of the 2020 Inter-Secondary School Debates.
Competing in the third and final preliminary round on Thursday, January 30, the Virgin Gorda-based BFEC defeated the defending champions ESHS by 47 points, winning with a competition high 655 points to their opponent’s 608.
Representing BFEC were Allonah Williams, Jada Barrett and Best Speaker awardee Ryan Ramlall, who argued in opposition of the moot: The banning of personal mobile devices for workplaces is a strategy for the people of the past and certainly inappropriate in this digital age.
The trio used a number of international and local examples to deliver their point that the use of cellphones within the workplace should not be allowed.
Among those examples was a direct reference to Banco Popular locally, which prohibits employees from using their personal mobile device during working hours.
The BFEC team argued that financial institutions that handle sensitive information, like Banco Popular, use these measures since there are several risks associated with cell phone usage in these working environments.
Among the risks listed were security breaches through malware viruses which can cost companies a hefty sum to rectify; reduction in productivity as a United Kingdom study found that employees check their phones an estimated 85 times a day; and stress, which can result from receiving a personal message which can negatively impact an employee’s day.
For the moot
On the other hand end of the argument were Eusa Adams, Jordan Dawson and Alexia Penn of ESHS.
Their position was that banning personal mobile devices is inappropriate in this era and is also an infringement on basic human rights.
The ESHS students further argued that the issue of cell phone usage in the workplace during working hours does not correlate to productivity, as an unmotivated employee will find themselves distracted regardless.
To strengthen this point, the students pointed to examples of local businesses which said that the usage of cellphones within those organisations has proven to increase productivity.
They also made the point that employees have a right to communicate through non-work-related communication channels, stating that in instances where an emergency occurs at work, they will be able to contact the necessary personnel to bring relief to the problem.
Losing team with the most points advances
Despite losing by 47 points to BFEC, the Tortola-based ESHS qualified for the semi-finals as the losing team with the most points.
Their losing total of 608 points was the second-highest total of the preliminary round, outperforming winners Cedar International School, who had won their debate with 603 points; and Claudia Creque Educational Centre who had amasses 584.
The semi-final round is set for Wednesday, February 19 at the Althea Scatliffe Primary School.
It will see Cedar International School taking on Claudia Creque Educational Centre, while the Elmore Stoutt High School will battle for the second time against the Bregado Flax Educational Centre Secondary Division.
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