How can I debate against democracy

Democracy thrives on debate

Today, Tuesday, the Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Minister for Education and Research, Thomas Rachel, and the North Rhine-Westphalian School Minister, Yvonne Gebauer, are following a student debate at the Theodor-Fliedner-Gymnasium in Düsseldorf-Kaiserswerth.

Parliamentary State Secretary Thomas Rachel explains: “The student competition 'Jugend debattiert' is an outstanding initiative to get students excited about democracy. That is why we are now increasing its funding. This means that more students will be able to take part in the well-known debate competition in the future. Especially in times when democracy is exposed to threats, it is important to convey to schools the value of our democracy. 'Jugend debattiert' conveys the basics of democracy: to deal with different opinions, to present one's own opinion - and to come to a compromise in the end. "

School Minister Yvonne Gebauer: “I am pleased that we are continuing and strengthening the 'Jugend debattiert' competition with our new agreement thanks to the good cooperation between the federal government, the federal states and the foundations involved. The competition encourages you to deal with current political issues and shows how you can always stay in conversation with one another even in the event of controversy in the sense of a democratic culture of debate. Nowadays in particular, it is elementary that students are aware of the social value of debates, which are conducted respectfully on an equal footing, even if there are different opinions, and that they learn the necessary tools to resolve disputes using the word. In this way, opinion-forming and communication skills are strengthened beyond the competition. "

Dr. h.c. Frank-Jürgen Weise, CEO of the non-profit Hertie Foundation explains: “The Hertie Foundation is delighted that the Federal Ministry of Education has sponsored 'Jugend debattiert'. For us it is also confirmation that we have created a convincing program that can now be anchored in the long term. That would not have been possible through the cooperation between the foundations and the federal states alone. "


The “Jugend debattiert” school competition promotes a culture of debate. Pupils of all school types are encouraged to take a position in speech and counter-speech, to question opinions and to adopt different perspectives. The debate promotes one's own language skills, personality and the ability to form socio-political will. There are clear rules here.

"Jugend debattiert" combines the training in class with a nationwide competition. Pupils from the 8th grade in two age groups can take part. The format has established itself in all countries. As a result of the involvement in the classroom, around 200,000 pupils have attended more than 1,300 schools annually over the past few years. Two thirds of them were students at grammar schools. Since 2015, “Jugend debattiert” has also been offered in an adapted form for language learning groups (schoolchildren who have been learning German for less than two years). The competition thus reaches a wide audience.

With the approval of the federal states, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) included the competition in federal funding on August 1, 2019. The BMBF will provide around 730,000 euros for this purpose by the end of 2020. The BMBF will provide a further 500,000 euros annually from 2020 to expand the scope of the competition. The competition's partners are the non-profit Hertie Foundation and the Heinz Nixdorf Foundation as well as the ministries of culture and parliaments of the federal states.

The student competition “Jugend debattiert” is an initiative of the Federal President and is under his patronage.

The Theodor-Fliedner-Gymnasium started in 2017 with “Jugend debattiert” in language learning groups and has been a participating school since this school year (2019/20). The college has meanwhile trained 14 teachers for the competition and unanimously decided on an annual “Youth Debate Project Day” for the 8th grade. The project day should inspire the students to participate.