The Economic Knowledge Contest
The Economic Knowledge Contest (EKC) has been held annually since 1987 by the Polish Economic Society, organized in cooperation with the Ministry of National Education. It is one of the biggest and most important events in economic education aimed at Polish secondary school students. Each EKC has a different lead theme referring to the contemporary Polish and international socio-economic situation. Approximately 15 000 students from about 1 000 Polish schools enter the Contest every year. A total of around 250 000 contestants have taken part in the 23 EKCs to date.
The main objectives of the EKC include:
- to arouse and stimulate students’ interests in socio-economic issues and in Poland’s development against the backdrop of the European Union and the global economy;
- to better adjust the school curriculum to the current requirements in the field of economic knowledge;
- to improve and broaden the scope of economic knowledge that is taught at school (including the relevant school subjects);
- to promote economic culture and the principles of rational economic behaviour;
- to spread modern economic knowledge;
- to support the most gifted students;
- to ensure the best university education for the best students;
- to promote fair play in pursuing victory and excellence among students and schools.
EKC is an interdisciplinary event as it involves of a number of subjects that are taught at general and vocational secondary schools. It is coordinated with the school curricula of the following subjects: introduction to economics, introduction to entrepreneurship, statistics, accountancy, marketing, elements of economic law, economics of enterprises, banking and finances, and economic analysis. The formula of the EKC is supposed to both test one’s knowledge and stimulate independent thinking.
The EKC consists of three stages – school, regional and national. The entrants qualify for the next levels of the Contest competitively. School and regional contests (Levels 1 and 2) last one day and consist of a written test. Of all the students that take part in Level 1 Contest, only 10% with the best results qualify for Level 2. Their number may not exceed 120 in a given region.
The national stage (Level 3) lasts for two days. One hundred contestants who have achieved the best results at Level 2 (regional) are admitted. On the first day they take a written test, and on the next, a spoken one.
Only those students who pass a minimum score determined by the Contest Board qualify for the second day. Thirty best students is Level 3 are granted the title of Winners while the others – Finalists.
The National Committee of the Economic Knowledge Contest is responsible for the organization and academic content of the Contest. Its members are appointed for a five-year term by the National Board of the Polish Economic Society. The members of the National Committee and Local Committees are academics from the most prestigious Polish universities, teachers of the vocational subjects and headmasters of high schools. In each region (16 capitals of Polish provinces and Częstochowa) there is an EKC Regional Committee responsible for organizing Level 1 (school stage) and Level 2 (regional stage) contests. School committees are formed in schools that participate in the EKC. They are supposed to coordinate school level contests and evaluate the contestants’ tests.
After more than two decades since the establishment of the EKC, it has clearly proven to be an effective way of promoting economic knowledge among teenagers. The winners and finalists of the Contest are typically recruited as managers, academics and specialists in many different economic fields. The EKC has been gradually gaining in popularity among students, teachers, and also among the prospective employers of the winners and finalists. This is reflected by prizes, scholarships and job placements for the best students as well as by rewards for their schools. The EKC enjoys the support of the Prime Minister of Poland, the Minister of Economy, the Minister of Finances, the National Bank of Poland, the Polish Financial Supervision Authority, the Polish Chamber of Insurance and the most prominent Polish financial institutions, companies, economic publishers, and others.
EKC updates are posted on the website of the Polish Economic Society: www.pte.pl/owe.