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Economic Knowledge Competition

Artur Pollok

One of the biggest and most important projects in the field of economic education, designed for secondary school students from across Poland and their teachers, is Economic Knowledge Competition. It is has been organized by the Polish Economic Society, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, since 1987. The importance of the Economic Knowledge Competition in the process of economic education of society and its popularity is reflected in the number of participants and schools joining each edition of the Competition. Each year over 300 thousand students from about a thousand schools attended twenty-seven editions of the Economic Knowledge Competition.The main objective of the Economic Knowledge Competition is economic education of youth, deepening knowledge of the modern economy and to support the development of gifted students. The formula of the Competition is to check the knowledge of economics and encourage independent thinking. Our experience leads us to conclude that these objectives have been successfully implemented. The winners and finalists of the Competition have become recognized scientists, managers, and senior officials of government.The organization of the Economic Knowledge Competition and its professional level are the responsibility of the Main Committee of the Competition, appointed for five years by the National Board of the Polish Economic Society. Since 2007 the Main Committee has been chaired by Professor Stanisław Owsiak, the Head of the Department of Finance at the Department of Finance at the University of Economics in Krakow. The Regional Committees of the Economic Knowledge Competition have been established in the various provincial cities in Poland. The Committees are responsible for the organization of the first stage (school) competitions and the second stage (district) competitions. In total there are 17 Committees located in Bialystok, Bydgoszcz, Czestochowa, Gdansk, Katowice, Kielce, Krakow, Lublin, Łódź, Olsztyn, Opole, Poznań, Rzeszów, Szczecin, Warsaw, Wrocław, and Zielona Góra. School committees are appointed in the schools participating in the Competition. They coordinate the organization of the first stage (school) competitions and evaluate the works of the participants in these competitions.The Competition is held in three stages. The first stage takes place in schools. Among the participants of the first stage (school) competition the top 10% of students are selected who then join the second stage competition which is carried out in the districts, i.e., at the provincial level. At this stage the top 100 participants who have qualified for the finals of the competition are selected. The third stage (central) takes place in the Polish capital, Warsaw. Thirty seats are prepared on the podium, because that many students, achieve the best results during the final struggle of the Competition, and become the winners of the Economic Knowledge Competition. To be included in this group one has to overcome in a noble scientific rivalry about 1.5 thousand other participants in the Competition (because each year so many students participate in it). The first stage (school) and secondary (regional) competitions are written exams, and the final two-day competition of the third stage (central) - is a written and oral exam.Each edition of the Economic Knowledge Competition is subordinated to the keynote central theme of the current socio-economic problems of Poland, Europe and the world. The list of the keynote central themes of the past twenty-seven editions of the Economic Knowledge Competitions is presented in Table 1 Table 1The keynote central themes of the Economic Knowledge Competition in the years 1987-2014

 Edition The school year The keynote central theme
1st 1987/1988 Polish economic reform 1982
2nd 1988/1989 Money and market
3rd 1989/1990 New socio-economic order
4th 1990/1991 Entrepreneurship and economic efficiency
5th 1991/1992 Restructuring and economic growth
6th 1992/1993 Money, credit, and capital market
7th 1993/1994 Entrepreneurship and investing
8th 1994/1995 Work and management
9th 1995/1996 Poland in the European integration process: Cooperation - competitiveness
10th 1996/1997 Financial policy in economic development
11th 1997/1998 Market research and marketing
12th 1998/1999 Globalization of the economy
13th 1999/2000 Decentralization of public finances
14th 2000/2001 Role of capital market in the economic development of Poland
15th 2001/2002 Labour market in the age of information civilization
16th 2002/2003 Polish economy towards integration with the European Union
17th 2003/2004 Enterprise in the conditions of globalization
18th 2004/2005 Regional policy and structural funds of the European Union
19th 2005/2006 Risk in business
20th 2006/2007 Human capital and innovation in the Polish economy
21st 2007/2008 Household - socio-economic dimension
22nd 2008/2009 Environment in the management of economy
23rd 2009/2010 Economic fluctuations and economic development
24th 2010/2011 Man in the world of money
25th 2011/2012 In search of a new economic order
26th 2012/2013 Disequilibria in the economy: Causes and effects
27th 2013/2014 Euro area: Opportunity or Threat?

  Cash and in-kind-awards are annually provided for the winners of the Economic Knowledge Competition and teachers who care for them, and for the best schools. This is possible thanks to a wide range of patrons and partners of the Competition, which include: the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland, the Minister of Economy, Minister of Finance, the President of the Polish National Bank, the Polish Financial Supervision Authority and a number of commercial banks and large Polish enterprises. The intention of the organizers of the Competition is that the reward system is to encourage the further scientific and professional development of young talents.Winners of the Economic Knowledge Competition enrol on dozens of universities without the recruitment procedure (the finalists of the Competition get preferential treatment in some universities), and are exempt from the written part of the qualification examination in such professions as economist-technician, technician-trader, accounting technician, administration technician, and technician of organization of advertising. Exemption from professional exam is equivalent to obtaining the highest exam score.Big prize money for the winner of the Economic Knowledge Competition is a tradition. It is founded by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Polish or one of the ministers (Minister of Economy or Minister of Finance), and the President of the Polish Economic Society. Other winners also receive cash prizes and scholarships, as well as high-end notebooks with software, books on economic issues, subscriptions of professional magazines, and commemorative coins.In addition to the cash and in-kind awards, and scholarships the winners are provided with free foreign trips and internships at leading institutions in the country and abroad. For example they participate in a two week scientific seminar at the Institute of European Studies in Vlotho, Germany. The European integration and the idea of a social market economy are the subjects of this seminar. The study visits to the European Parliament in Brussels are also organized for the winners of the Competition.Also, the teachers who prepare students for the Competitions and the best schools receive cash and in-kind awards. In this way, their commitment and contribution to the scientific care of the participants of the Competitions is appreciated. A special award, “For the dissemination of economic knowledge and distinguished scientific care of the participants of the Economic Knowledge Competition” is granted to teachers who were tutors of the winners of at least three editions of the Economic Knowledge Competition.Among the additional attractions of the Economic Knowledge Competition one should mention the meeting of the participants of the third stage (central) Competition and their teachers with the president of the Polish National Bank. In addition to the discussion about the most important economic problems in Poland and the world, the guests also have the opportunity to visit the Numismatic Cabinet of the National Bank of Poland.Each edition of the Economic Knowledge Competition ends with a ceremony at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister or the Ministry of Economy or the Ministry of Finance. At this meeting, the awards and diplomas are handed out to the winners.For many years the Economic Knowledge Competition winners and their tutors at the end of each edition visit the Stock Exchange in Warsaw. During the meeting with the President of the Board of the Stock Exchange they may listen to the presentation on the history of the Stock Exchange and its current position, as well as discuss with the hosts of the meeting.It should be remembered that the Economic Knowledge Competition is not only a ceremonious gala. In each edition of the Economic Knowledge Competition eminent Polish economists give lectures to the participants of the third stage (central) competition and their tutors. So far lectures were given by: Professor Zdzisław Sadowski from Warsaw University, Professor Elżbieta Mączyńska from the Warsaw School of Economics, Professor Bogusław Fiedor of Wrocław University of Economics, Professor Grzegorz W. Kołodko of Kozminski University in Warsaw, Professor Witold Orłowski of Warsaw University of Technology, and Professor Andrzej Sławiński from the Warsaw School of Economics.The Economic Knowledge Competition involves also a range of activities aimed at promoting knowledge of the modern economy. It is worth noting that in each edition of the Economic Knowledge Competition, thanks to the support of sponsors, students and teachers receive free books of outstanding Polish and foreign economists. The Economic Knowledge Competition is accompanied by a number of conferences and open scientific seminars in the Branches of the Polish Economic Society in the country.

The Economic Knowledge Competition is a project with a rich past - the 27 years of its existence is a long time. During this period the Competition was subject to major and minor modifications. Evolution is essential, because the environment in which the Competition operates changes, and expectations of students and teachers also change. The goal of the Competitions remains unchanged- to disseminate modern economic knowledge. We are deeply convinced that this goal has been and is being successfully realized.

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