2024 Apr/19

Congratulations to our School Contest International Finalists!

Last week marked the official end of the School Contest National Finals series. Thank you to all the participating teams and congratulations to the international finalists!

France – 12-15 y – Eco Bean Bag & 15-18 y – Safeteen Nets

Greece – 12-15 y – Rethink Reuse & 15-18 y – Eco Cash

Romania – 12-15 y – Smart Greenhouse

Lithuania – 12-15 y – Environmental Sustainability & 15-18 y – HomeTown Changers

Spain – 12-15 y – Recycled Stool 5 & 15-18 y – Eco Bricks

Croatia – 12-15 y – Give me 5 & 15-18 y – 4 C (Collect, Cut, Connect and Create)

Ireland – 15-18 y – Reef Relief

Cyprus – 12-15 y – The Remake & 15-18 y – Shoreline Salvation

This annual contest is organized by the EU-CONEXUS School Committee from The University to School Programme and coordinated by our partners from the Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest. By bringing an international group of students together, it aims to foster cooperation among local EU-CONEXUS universities and partner schools. It is also meant to shed a light on the crucial importance our coastal areas play in the balance of the coastal ecosystem. These areas have long been considered as ideal locations for human settlements, and the increasing demand for natural resources and services has led to significant environmental challenges that we must acknowledge and address.

Review of the current 4th edition

The most recent 4th edition of the School Contest challenged pupils aged 12-15 to raise awareness about sustainability, circular economy, green and technologically intelligent environments, and smart cities. In the meantime, pupils aged 15-18 were encouraged to think critically and creatively about sustainable development, circular economy, and smart city technologies.

The competition gathered 102 teams within the age category of 12-15 and 51 teams within the age category of 15-18. It also a featured a structural upgrade in comparison to last year, introducing the concept of 9R Framework and gamification elements for the first time.

The 9R Framework (Refuse, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Refurbish, Remanufacture, Repurpose, Recycle, Recover) is a set of principles that supports the transition from a linear economy to a circular one. It emphasizes the benefits of reducing waste and adopting a circular economy, positioning it as a crucial facilitator of coastal ecosystems’ health and longevity. Essentially, it is designed to reduce the amount of plastic waste and other pollutants that end up in the ocean.

The gamification part of the current edition is based on the accumulation of points for completing well-defined tasks. This method is aimed to increase pupils’ engagement and provide a greater sense of accomplishment.

The participation process for the 1st age category included team registration, a sustainability quiz, a manufacturing challenge, a video challenge, and a presentation about their manufactured object. Contestants in the 2nd age category needed to complete their team registration, go through a research phase, create a business model Canva for their project, take part in a recycling challenge and prepare a presentation about the research conducted in stage two.

Reflecting on all 4 editions that took place thus far, this contest, as a platform for environmental awareness and change, has the potential to serve as an inspiring catalyst for the pupils of today and the young leaders of tomorrow. Some of the key factors for progress include raising awareness of SmUCS-related topics and careers, developing SmUCS skills for pupils and students through challenge-based approaches, and promoting open science and open education for all.

By participating in the School Contest, pupils and their teachers contribute to the creation of a more sustainable environment that benefits both the people and the planet! As the event comes to its final stage, we look forward to seeing all the contestants in an online event which will take place on the 25th of April: EU-CONEXUS Open Day for Schools and The International Final of the School Contest! For more information about the contest and its upcoming 5th edition, visit our website and our social media accounts.

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