World Schools Debating Championships

The World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC) is a truly global competition for high school debaters. The Championships take place each year in a different country, hosted by a national debating body. Recent host cities include Seoul (2007), Washington DC (2008), Athens (2009), Doha (2010), Dundee (2011), Cape Town (2012) Antalya (2013), Thailand (2014), Singapore (2015) and Stuttgart (2016). This year’s WSDC will be hosted in Bali.

All debates take place in English. Each country can submit a squad of 3-5 students under the age of 20 in full time education in that country to debate social, moral and political issues.

South Africa has participated in every WSDC since 1998. We have become recognised as a country that regularly sends top-class debaters to the competition, breaking to octo-finals or higher at 13 out of the 16 championships we have attended. Our best team performance was in 2016, when South Africa was ranked the Best Schools Team in the World. Our best individual ranking was achieved in 2009, when Daniel Kaliski ranked first in the world and matched again in 2015, when Kate Dewey ranked first in the world!

South Africa’s overall performance at the 2016 WSDC was as follows:

  • Ranked 1st in the World
  • Grant Fourie ranked 20th in the World
  • Steven Lochner ranked 13th in the World
  • Rebecca Mqamelo ranked 21st in the World
  • William Shoki ranked 10th in the World
  • Katya Broomberg ranked 3rd in the World

13 thoughts on “World Schools Debating Championships”

  1. Hi , I am a South African livinging Qatar and I am involved with debating here. I would like to be able to judge at WSDC 2012 in my home country. Will you please keep me posted about the tournament


    1. Hi Ann. It’s good to hear from you! I’ll email you with more details. –Irene Pampallis (Operations Officer)

    1. Hi there. The WSDC is a competition for national teams only, and not teams from particular schools. For you to qualify for the national team your school needs to compete in your local provincial league, and then you must perform well enough to be selected for the provincial (and later national) teams.

    1. Dear Saidur,
      Unfortunately World Schools is only for registered school students or for 18 year olds that have not yet registered for university. However, there is a tournament for university students which you can find more information about here: All the best! – :) Tristan von Zahn (Operations Officer)

  2. Hi there,my name is onneile kimberly lentswe,I am 16 years of age and really very passionate about debating,I was chosen to represent North West in the national debate compertitions in Cape Town last year,and I’m in my school’s first debating team and would really love to join your team

    1. Hi Onneile,

      Speakers for the national trials are selected at the National Schools Debating Championships from the pool of competitors, based on merit. In order to be eligible to compete at the national tournament you have to be selected to be a representative of you respective provincial debating team, speakers for which are selected at provincial level. North West does not currently send teams to SANSDC, but we are hoping to set up a provincial league for this purpose as part of the New Provinces Development Project. You should contact Michelle Groenewald ( about getting involved in debating in North West.

      I hope this has helped you.


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