The winners of the 2019 Schools Economics Challenge

By Tim Phillips | 4 November 2019

Why is addressing climate change so difficult?

That’s the question we posed in the 2019 Schools Economics Challenge, in which we partnered with the Financial Times for Schools. Teams were challenged to create an accessible and entertaining short video, making use of The Economy (if you’re wondering what we have to say about the climate emergency, you’ll find it in Unit 20, “The Economics of the Environment”.

Winner: Dulwich College Shanghai

(£1,000 for the school and £500 Amazon vouchers for students)

Dulwich College Shanghai studentsCongratulations to (left to right) Fredric Kong, Aria Jain, Jonathan Dragon, Cherry But, Dominic Woetzel, and Titan Tsui for a video that the judges decided was “clearly willing to both raise and critique theories that matter”. It was “interesting and well-structured … The students displayed an ability to engage critically with the question and to back up their arguments.”

You can see for yourself:

“I believe that students, the voice of the future, should become more engaged in environmental protection and speaking out about the importance of reducing climate change,” Titan says, “The challenge has encouraged me to think outside the box and has given me the skills needed to break those complex issues apart and to see the issue from another perspective. The challenge augmented my analytical skills, but has also made me a more open-minded person.”

“With the CORE SEC, our team was introduced to the imperfect markets which characterise much of reality. In developing countries with weaker institutions and less developed infrastructure, these imperfect markets are more prevalent and likely to make internalising the externality more difficult … this is a testament to the social and political importance of economics,” Fredric adds.

Fiona Charnley, the head of Business and Economics at Dulwich College Shanghai, submitted the entry on behalf of her students. “We see economics as a dynamic subject so links between theory and real world application are very much encouraged in class discussions, and also in assessment tasks,” she says, “The team are very much engaged with sustainability and see the video as an opportunity to spread important information about the challenges of addressing climate change.”

Second place: Toldy Ferenc Gimnázium, Budapest

(£750 for the school and £300 Amazon vouchers for students)

Balázs Bellus, Rozi Lili Mezei, Bence Kis, and Zsombor Zilahy submitted their own very creative animation, including what one judge called “a unique proposal for a new international organisation to help coordinate and even implement climate policies”. As another judge commented: “It is inspiring to hear the students come up with their own ideas on how to tackle climate change.”

Third place: Merchant Taylors’ School, London

(£500 for the school and £200 Amazon vouchers for students)

The video from Bert Edwards, Zak Torns, William Bettridge, and James Tillotson was partly recorded on location in central London on the evening of the global climate strike. It broke new ground for student video competition winners by working in a reference to the Treaty of Westphalia. Judges were also impressed by “a great understanding of core concepts in modern economics.”

Winner, collaborative entry: Hammersmith Academy and St Paul’s Boys School, London

(£1,000 for each school and £500 Amazon vouchers for students)

Each year, participating schools may each enter one additional collaborative entry with another local school. This year the winning collaboration was submitted by Lorena Russo, Luke Polmear, James Allen, and Kourosh Chaharsough Shirazi.

Judges praised a “wide range of economic theory”, including discussion of lobbying power and politics, and “one of the few videos to use game theory and explain it well to a general audience.”


Congratulations to the winners, thanks for all your entries. And if you are a teacher and want to help your students investigate the data behind the climate emergency, why not investigate our Doing Economics projects on the topic?