Five fully paid scholarships to study at Wits University are up for grabs in a debating challenge.

High school learners who are debating mavericks will pit their skills against one another in a bid to win one of five scholarships to study at Wits University. The #ReadyToWork debating challenge, hosted by Tshimong, a social entrepreneurship company, was launched on Saturday, February 24 in the Johannesburg CBD and is expected to run till the middle of March.

Former Witsie and managing director of Tshimong, Thamsanqa Pooe said, “The debating challenge will be taking place simultaneously across Gauteng with eight schools debating in each region.”

Grade 11 and 12 learners from about 40 schools in Gauteng are expected to participate in the challenge from the five regions, namely Gauteng north, Vaal, West Rand, Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg CBD.

Pooe added that the aim of the challenge is to help learners to prepare for their lives after high school. “Young people that occupy most jobs are not ready. The aim of #ReadyToWork is bridging the gap between school and the working economy. We use debating as a tool.” he said.

The scholarships will be sponsored by ABSA as part of Tshimong’s partnership with the bank to help learners to familiarise themselves with workplace and money management skills and entrepreneurship through debating and public speaking. The learners will also be introduced to an online curriculum “… that teaches young people readiness skills”, said Pooe.

Tshimong was founded by Pooe, Busisiwe Mkhumbuzi and Bongani Masilela, a current Wits student. The company partners with large corporations and non-governmental organizations to impact the community through debating and public speaking.

One of the participants of the debating challenge and Grade 12 learner at Randfontein High School, Neo Tsotetsi, said, “I’m excited to see how debating has grown and also getting cool competition. I want to study BA Law or sociology. Wits is one of the best universities in the country. If I would get a scholarship, I would be really happy.”