A debate competition, 'Voice of Freedom' was organised on 7 February for the students of Rajshahi University. Funded by the European Union (EU), DNET and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom are jointly implementing the project 'Foster Responsible Digital Citizenship to Promote Freedom of Expression in Bangladesh'. The project was launched with the aim of helping the young generation of Bangladesh to become responsible digital citizens and inculcate in them the spirit of free expression in a constructive way.
A total of 12 students participated in this competition in four teams selected from different departments and more than 200 students including teachers from different departments were present as spectators. An interesting quiz competition was organized in the session for the audience as well.
Asif Ahmed Tanmoy, FRDC project director of DNET said – “Our main objective of this project is to help the young society to become responsible by expressing their opinions in an independent and constructive way online using the concepts of digital citizenship education. To this end, various steps have already been taken and they have been successfully completed. Today, through this debate competition, the young society is getting to know about digital citizenship. Hopefully, they will continue this initiative that we have started in the future through fair practice."
Naira Nizam, program manager of Frederick Nauman Foundation for Freedom said, “The FRDC project has been working for the past two years to develop free thinking and increase positive practices. This debate competition organized as a new part of this endeavor will spread the message of good behavior in the campus.”
Professor of Rajshahi University, Rabiul Islam said - "Through this project, more initiatives like debates have increased the practice of positive behavior among the students of Rajshahi University and they themselves are spreading this education among others."
The debate was organised in two phases. The final round debate was held between the two winners of the first round. The topic of the final episode was - 'Social Media Makes Us Less Social'. The winners of the competition for their outstanding eloquence were: Asaduzzaman Siam, Abdullah Neel and Mosammat Ashrefa Afrin Naich.
Apart from the various awareness activities of the FRDC project, there is also a free online course website. The website https://www.digitalcitizenbd.com/ has various youth-friendly initiatives where students can learn about digital citizenship and freedom of expression and learn about analytical thinking through a constructive discussion. This will help them become proud digital citizens by bringing behavioral changes in navigating the digital world.