The ability to reason and think critically has always been a valued skill at The Doon School. Debating has been one of the critical activities that has trained students to think critically and learn how to express their opinions. For over 80 years, the debating society of Doon has developed and grown, with the aim of cultivating interest and nurturing talent in the student community. The society started with a handful of senior boys discussing topics in a small room. It has since then grown into a large society where boys from across batches come to discuss almost everything under the sun. Since its inception, The Doon School Debating Society has continuously evolved, setting a higher benchmark for debating year after year.
At Doon, debating is divided into two different sections: senior and junior. At each level, there is a different approach to teaching and learning debating, with a concerted effort being made to introduce the juniors to debating in a gradual manner and further enriching the learning of the seniors. Along with this, there is a complex Intra-School debate competition held annually as well. Due to Doon’s fierce Inter-House rivalry, this often leads to a search for grassroot talent, often leading to the discovery of great debaters. This, in the long-term, has ensured that there remains a formidable corpus of debaters and deep and broad interest in the activity.
In our meetings, we strive to maintain our two-way communication structure, where there is no one person espousing what seems to be gospel truth. There are always others questioning and furthering any thought that is brought forward. At Doon we believe in the process of refinement and strive to question any belief that is put forward. The society often calls speakers who deliver lectures and speeches and have discussions on topics affecting the world at the time. Through this, we hope to cultivate an invigorating environment where thoughts and ideas are in abundance.
This training procedure has yielded great results. Over the years, our debaters have grown from debating only in Dehradun to achieving results at international competitions like the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Competition (WIDPSC) and the World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC). They have represented India at a national level and have attained success at the highest levels of debating. Students visit the World Schools Debating Academy in Slovenia every year and receive comprehensive training. As a result, while we practice and debate in almost every format, our primary focus remains on the World Schools Debating Competition (WSDC) format.
As a society, we aim to build on our past successes, and take our standards of debating to ever higher levels each year. Through constant practice and preparation, we are confident that these successes will soon be within a hand’s grasp, and are ready to persevere to do so. Fundamentally, as a society, we hope to inculcate in every Dosco a deep respect and reverence for the ideals of free speech: to believe in the power of hearing each other out, as it is only through free debate and discussion we can arrive at a suitable conclusion for all.