Despite the unfavorable situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and pandemic restrictions in 2020-2021, we were able to hold the fourth edition of the Economics Olympiad, the first comprehensive nationwide competition in economics and finance for high school students in Slovakia.
What is more, we were happy to welcome a record number of high school students from all over the country to take part in the competition this year and to open the gates for the fifth year of the Olympiad in Slovakia.
On Wednesday, 23 June 2021, the national finals of the fourth year of the Olympiad took place in the Devín Hotel in Bratislava. The project that allows high school students to compare their level of economic and financial literacy, is organized by INESS – Institute of Economic and Social Studies in cooperation with the Czech Institute of Economic Education (INEV).
At the beginning, 8,500 talented secondary school students competed to make it to the finals. Compared to last year, the total number of participants increased by 2,000 students. To get to the final round, students had to beat their rivals in a school round first, from which 349 contestants qualified for the regional round.
This year’s regional round exceptionally took place in the virtual world. The fact that the top 50 contestants who demonstrated the best insight and analytical thinking might meet in person was all the more enjoyable.
The first part of the national final was a 60-minute test focusing on current economic issues that affect our daily lives. The contestants analyzed the supply and demand in the short- and long-term accommodation market during the pandemic, the risks of the current pay-as-you-go pension system in Slovakia and possible solutions to these risks, or the nominal returns and risks of real estate and mutual fund investments. The top ten students qualified for the oral round, in which they presented their knowledge and argued for their opinions in front of an expert jury.
The jury consisted of experts from academia, private and non-profit sector: Richard Kališ (University of Economics in Bratislava), Miriama Letovanec (public sector economic analyst), Štefan Máj (Foundation of Slovenská sporiteľňa bank), Martin Vlachynský (INESS) and Martin Šuster (National Bank of Slovakia).
Monika Budzák, Director of the Economics Olympiad:
“Despite their young age, the competitors in the Economics Olympiad showed exceptional economic knowledge and critical thinking. We are pleased that the response to the competition has been favorable and thanks to our competition we are able to motivate young people to further study economics.”
The national final was accompanied by an interesting program of lectures and discussions on various current economic topics. The lecture “Taxes, deficits and your salaries after COVID-19″ by analyst Radovan Ďurana from INESS was prepared for the teachers.
The afternoon program consisted of a lecture by Juraj Karpiš (INESS), the author of the bestseller “Bad Money – A Guide to the Crisis”. In the lecture “How to save and invest while in secondary school?” he presented ways in which a person of a young age can effectively start saving and investing money.
After the final evaluation, the jury presented the final ranking of all ten finalists of the Economics Olympiad. The third place went to Šimon Pekár from the Bilingual Grammar School of Milan Hodža in Sučany, the second place went to Matej Sova from the School for Exceptionally Gifted Children and Gymnasium in Bratislava, and the absolute winner of the fourth year of the Economics Olympiad is Daniel Baňár from the Secondary Grammar School in Nové Zámky.
The organizers, project partners and members of the expert committee congratulated to the competitors. Thanks to the sponsors, the most successful three finalists can enjoy valuable prizes such as an e-book reader, a mobile phone, and a laptop.
“The subject of Economics itself is not that good in our school, a lot of the credit for this success goes to my teacher who was dedicated to prepare us for this competition. In fact, she doesn’t even teach me, she leads a study group, so she really contributed a lot to my victory. And, of course, me and my girlfriend try to study economics in our free time as we enjoy it a lot.” – stated Daniel Baňár, the winner of this year’s Economics Olympiad.
“The Economics Olympiad gave me a great experience and a chance to test my progress. At the same time, I am extremely grateful and happy for the content that INESS creates.” – said another of the contestants in the questionnaire.
As in previous years, this year also showed the fact that we have a huge number of young economic talents in Slovakia, and we are sure that we will hear much about them in the future. We firmly believe that next year’s Economics Olympiad will also arouse the interest of thousands of young Slovaks.
More photos from the event can be found on INESS Facebook page.
Slovak school could register for the fifth year online at: ekonomickaolympiada.sk. If you want to join the international Economics Olympiad, don’t hesitate to contact INESS.