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Meriden girls tackle society’s biggest questions

The girls collaborating during the competition

Do humans have a moral obligation to revive species that we have made extinct? Is private funding in academia acceptable? What are the ethical concerns of the use of drones in warfare?

These questions and others have been carefully considered by a group of Meriden girls, who prepared cases on eight different ethical issues as part of the inaugural Ethics Olympiad. The event saw students from sixteen schools across New South Wales analyse and discuss real-life, timely ethical dilemmas.

Year 9 student, Annabelle Strachan, and Year 10 students, Vivian Chen, Coco Chung, Metilda You and Liyang Yu, have been meeting regularly with their mentor Mrs Priscilla Curran, Coordinator of Learning Link – Research and Critical Thinking, to develop their skills in critical thinking and ethical awareness.

Mrs Curran said Meriden is proud to have been part of the Ethics Olympiad, which is the first of its kind for school students in New South Wales.

“The girls represented our School beautifully, speaking with eloquence and confidence,” she said.

“They demonstrated that young people care passionately about the ethical quandaries of our complex society. Their increasing ability to think rationally about moral issues will serve them well in their own lives and will benefit their communities when they go out into the world.”

The Ethics Olympiad differs from a debate in that students are not assigned opposing views; rather, they defend whatever position they believe is right and have to show that they have thought carefully, deeply and perceptively about the cases in question. The Olympiad aims to help students develop skills in ethical awareness, critical thinking and an appreciation for diverse points of view.

Other questions the team considered included whether hate speech should be protected by a belief in freedom of speech and who should take responsibility for the creation of algorithms that perpetuate (even unwittingly) gender and racial bias.

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