2013 International Schools Essay Competition and Debate

Who is responsible … are we ready to take responsibility for the future of our planet?

Global essay competition invites schoolchildren to share their views on the rights and responsibilities of different people worldwide in creating a sustainable future

See the full list of 2013 Winners (Trophies, Finalists, Honourable Mentions)

At the recent United Nations ‘Rio+20’ Earth Summit, national governments made little headway in addressing the planet’s burgeoning ecological, social and economic problems. We believe that young people can do better, so we’re inviting children to think carefully about who around the world is responsible for doing what to help turn the situation around.

We want to hear what schoolchildren think different groups in society (such as governments, citizens, educators, businesses, organised religions and the media) should be doing to help solve growing global problems of unsustainable development.  Do people’s rights and responsibilities differ around the world and if so, how?

The competition and debate are aimed at primary students (ages 7-11) and secondary students (ages 11-17) and their teachers, in both formal and home schools.

First, Second and Third Prizes will be awarded in both categories and one overall Grand Prize Winner will receive a free trip to either the UK or the Seychelles to attend the International Schools Debates, together with a parent and Teacher Champion. All shortlisted schools will also be invited to participate in the International Schools Debates in the UK (26-27 June 2013) or Seychelles (1-5 July 2013).

Essay Competition

Secondary school students at the International Schools Debate & Prize-giving, Living Rainforest, 27 June 2013

Secondary school students at the International Schools Debate & Prize-giving, Living Rainforest, 27 June 2013

Students are invited to write an essay in English, entitled ‘Who is responsible … are we ready to take responsibility for the future of our planet?’. A distinguished panel of judges, drawn from experts and educationalists in the field, will select three winning entries for each age category. The winning students will be awarded trophies at the International Schools Debates and their essays will be published on the competition website. Essays will be judged for comprehensiveness and clarity, innovative and creative thinking and the potential to contribute to a broad-ranging and constructive international debate (see scoring and judging criteria). The essay length differs by age category as follows:

Primary students (ages 7-11) – max. 400 words

Secondary students (ages 11-17) – max. 600 words

For each category, schools will be invited to submit up to 30 essays online. (These must be submitted by the Teacher Champion, using the login details provided at registration. We regret that paper and emailed copies cannot be accepted.)

International Schools Debates & Prize-giving

Cho Su bin, Grand Prize Winner

Cho Su bin from S. Korea, our 2013 Grand Prize Winner

In 2013, there will be two International Schools Debate & Prize-giving events – one in the Northern Hemisphere and one in the Southern Hemisphere. Winning schools will choose which event they wish to attend. The Northern Hemisphere debate will take place at the Living Rainforest (UK) on 26-27 June 2013 and the Southern Hemisphere debate will take place near Victoria (Seychelles) on 1-5 July 2013. Each school will be represented by a team of up to two students, plus one Teacher Champion. Aside from the Grand Prize Winner and accompanying Teacher Champion and parent, each participating school will need to cover its own costs.

Key Dates

25 September 2012 – School/teacher registration begins

22 March 2013 – Closing date for essay submissions

3 May 2013 – Winners notified and invited to Debates/Prize-giving

26-27  June 2013 – Northern Hemisphere Schools Debate and Prize-giving, United Kingdom (at The Living Rainforest, near Newbury, Berkshire). June 26 – Primary Schools (see Programme for Primary Schools); June 27 – Secondary Schools (see Programme for Secondary Schools). Each day includes: Arrival from 1000; Introduction to Team Challenge; Rainforest Tours; Essay Prize-giving including Trophies and Certificates; Team Challenges; Buffet Lunch; Conclusion and Farewell; Departure from 1500. Accommodation near Newbury. Travel Directions.

1-4 July 2013 – Southern Hemisphere Schools Debate and Prize-giving, Seychelles – see Programme – featuring a unique educational programme hosted by the Seychelles Government including: July 1 – Schools Debates and Prize-giving at Botanical Gardens, followed by Excursion into Town; July 2 – Visit to Eco-Schools and Tour of Island; July 3 – Optional Visit to Praslin Island/Vallee de Mai World Heritage Site & La Digue Island. International participants will benefit from specially-negotiated discounts on a range of accommodation and the kind financial assistance of the Ministries of Education and Environment & Energy).

Resources for Schools

Winners' Trophies 2013

Winners’ Trophies 2013

To assist teachers and students in preparing for the competition and debate, key resources will be made available on the competition website in the months leading up to the submission deadline. Judging & scoring criteria

Schools Essay Competition Flyer (A5 size or A4 size)

Enquiries & Updates

Sign up here to receive periodic updates and announcements about the competition

Email queries should be directed to: schools[AT]livingrainforest.org

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