The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and the Financial Times ran a joint School Essay Competition in 2019, which sought thoughtful and well argued responses from A Level geography pupils to the question Is it better for the world to be wealthier or to be more equal?
The internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1 identifies a target of eradicating extreme poverty for all people everywhere by 2030, and SDG 10 focuses on reducing inequalities. Recent decades have seen an unprecedented reduction in the proportion of the world’s population living in absolute poverty, with the global rate of poverty being halved since 2000. However, this has taken place amidst growing rates of inequality and one in 10 people in developing regions are still living with their families on less than the international poverty line of US$1.90 a day.
We are pleased to announce that the winners of this competition are:
Overall winner: Lily Hood, Sevenoaks School, Kent (download essay here)
The four judges described Lily’s entry as providing an excellent summary of the key issues and their complexities. These included a consideration of what we mean by ‘better’ and that both increased wealth and reduced inequality can coexist. It was a fluent and sophisticated essay.
Highly commended entries:
Guy Zilberman, Wellington College, Berkshire (download essay here)
Hannah Castenskiold, James Allen’s Girls School, Dulwich (download essay here)
Neel Shah, Queen Elizabeth’s Boys School, Barnet (download essay here)
Heather Magowan, The Perse Upper School, Cambridge (download essay here)
The winner and highly commended students will be presented with their awards on 22 November as part of the prestigious School Members Lecture. In addition to receiving a certificate, the winners will receive a year’s subscription to Geographical magazine.
You can view the winning entries in the downloads box on the right hand side of this page, and watch the presentation ceremony below.
The judges were looking for:
A clear essay which is well evidenced and argues for a point of view
Submissions which do not exceed the word limit of 800 words
Referenced sources of information and data
Submissions which are the young people's own work
This competition was open to all geography students aged 16-18 in the UK.
You can find further information about the SDGs and global development on
Financial Times: FT Free subscription for schools
Royal Geographical Society (with IBG): resources on Global Perspectives
Sustainable Development Goals
The Society launched this competition in partnership with the Financial Times as part of its Education Programme to support geography teachers and their pupils. Your school can become a School Member of the Society, and you and your pupils can join respectively as a Fellow or Young Geographer.
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