LERIBE English Medium School on Friday won M55 000 and a floating trophy during the National High Schools Debate Competition organised by the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) and Ministry of Education and Training in Maseru.
St Joseph’s High School from Maseru came second and walked away with M35 000 while Methodist High School from Berea district came third pocketing M25 000.
In addition to the cash prizes, LRA has undertaken to send three students who won in the Best Speaker category to the University of Pretoria on an all-expenses-paid study tour for three days. The trio, Molemo Moremi from St Patrick’s High School in Mohale’s Hoek, T?epo van Tonder from St Joseph’s High School and Keneuoe Mahasane from Methodist High School will also receive career guidance during the trip.
The debate competition has been held annually since 2010. This year, 168 schools and 504 students took part in the tournament. The debate motion was: “This house believes that taxation should be introduced in school curriculum.”
Addressing the gathering during the award-giving ceremony, LRA Commissioner Domestic Taxes Thabo Moleko said the debate competition was introduced with the aim of familiarising students with Lesotho’s tax system and also to provide them with an opportunity to develop their research and presentation skills.
He said in keeping with the debate motion, the LRA’s ultimate goal was to see taxation as part of the school curriculum at all levels.
“I believe today’s reflections have given us enough to start discussions around this. Three years back, in a similar event, the Ministry of Education and Training representative publicly challenged my Commissioner-General to take the relationship to another level, I believe that time is now; we are ready to take our relationship to the next level,” Mr Moleko said.
“Hon Minister, we shall approach your office with a proposal as to how we intend to evaluate the work done thus far and how we intend to carry the baton forward.”
He added: “The much needed evaluation is influenced by noticeable declines in schools that participate in the debates of late. We need to bring back the seemingly lost passion and enthusiasm.”
LRA Acting Commissioner-General, Advocate Realeboha Mathaba, said the debate was one of the revenue authority’s strategies to educate young people on issues of taxation.
“This initiative was therefore intended to improve tax compliance culture by targeting students at their tender age so that they grow up being aware of their future tax obligations,” he said.
“These are our future workforce and business gurus of tomorrow. They need to be in good standing in as far as tax is concerned. Through this initiative we also wanted to enhance students understanding of the role of LRA and how it conducts its business.
“There was no better way to do this than opening dialogue through debate so that issues get to be thoroughly discussed and understood.”