Science Debates

Science debates facilitates constructive engagement with today science issues among high school students by encouraging school students to care, to research and to debate with each other on recent scientific-based resolutions.


Although scientific and technological advancement has undoubtedly had a massive impact for the improvement of human health and economies, many scientific advances have pros and cons. There are often unintended ethical, economic and environmental impacts, and resulting controversies about the uptake of these new advancements. It is important that people, especially the younger generations, understand the issues, be able to make choices and raise their voices.

Debating is proven to be a good way to generate in-depth discussions and critical thinking among students in particular and intellectuals in general. However, the majority of schools in Vietnam are still unfamiliar with debates, let alone science debates. Much teaching in Vietnam has a top down approach, with little engagement from the students. Debating will encourage students to become mentally and emotionally involved in the topics, and promote a questioning attitude which is so important in scientific thinking.

With the new Science Debates initiative, we will develop debating skills for students and adults including OUCRU researchers, teachers and engagement practitioners. The project also fosters the establishment of debate clubs where students are able to participate in regular debating activities at school, which help develop their critical thinking, self-confidence, communication and research skills. The resources developed for the project will enable scientists, teachers and students run science debates at schools independently.

What we do

Capacity building

OUCRU works with local and international partners to provide a series of training workshops on debating skills and methodologies for researchers, teachers and engagement practitioners.

Debate clubs

Debate clubs will be established at high schools to enable students to use debating skills as a way to communicate with each other about todays science issues. OUCRU researchers will support students in preparation for the debate. Vietnamese scientists, journalists, university lecturers will join as judges and inspirational figures.

Resource development

We work with researchers, school teachers and partners to develop guidelines of how to run a debate club and scientific topics for the debates. In the long term, these resources will help scientists, teachers and students across the country to roll out science debates at schools.

Science debate gala

The climax of the science debate clubs will be marked by a science debate gala, where debate
clubs can meet up and share what they have learned through participatory and competitive activities. Students from other schools are invited to join this event.


  • 3 debate clubs will be established in high schools and 3 debate clubs in university in Ho Chi Minh City in 2019.
  • 4 training workshops on debating skills and methodologies will be organized for OUCRU researchers, teachers, engagement practitioners and students.
  • 9 topic guides on scientific issues will be developed for school students.
  • 2 OUCRU staff visited Debate Mate in London, UK for intensive training on setting up debating in schools.