UKZN debaters of note (from left), students Ms Asma Khatib, Ms Cherise Prithipal, Ms Lerisha Dabi; and lecturer, Ms Lungile Buthelezi.

Optometry Team Wins Intervarsity Debate Contest

UKZN Optometry students won the Annual Specsavers Optometry Intervarsity Debate competition, scoring individual and discipline prizes, including cash, equipment for the optometry clinic, and sponsorship for the final year ball!

The Discipline’s academic leader, Dr Urvashni Nirghin, congratulated the students and their lecturer/leader Ms Lungile Buthelezi on the national victory. ‘This is an exceptional achievement. Thank you for your support and commitment to the Discipline. Well done!’ said Nirghin.

Various topics were discussed at the competition, hosted online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including graduate workplace readiness, the potential of telemedicine pre- and post- COVID-19, and different treatment modalities for eye conditions.

The team “out-debated” the University of Free State to enter the final round where they faced the University of Johannesburg. ‘Winning this final debate was a great achievement for the team,’ said Buthelezi. ‘The students worked hard as we had only four days to prepare four topics.’

She said long hours of research and speech delivery coaching took place to get the team ready for the competition.

‘In the final round, we had just 15 minutes to prepare for the debate. It was a challenging but fruitful experience for us all,’ said Buthelezi.

‘The students gained valuable skills such as critical thinking, the ability to structure and organise thoughts, research skills, and the ability to form balanced, informed arguments using reasoning and evidence.’

Words: Nombuso Dlamini

Photographs: Supplied