South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago delivering remarks at the awards ceremony of the annual Monetary Policy Committee Schools Challenge in Pretoria on Friday. Picture: ANA

Pretoria - The South African Reserve Bank (SARB), in partnership with the national Department of Basic Education (DBE), on Friday announced the finalists, and the 2018 winners, of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) Schools Challenge at a prestigious event held at the apex bank in Pretoria.

Krugersdorp High School from Gauteng took top honours as the winner of the 2018 MPC Schools Challenge. Potchefstroom Gimnasium from North West came second, while Springs Girls School from Gauteng and Orhovelani High School from Mpumalanga were placed joint third.

SARB Governor Lesetja Kganyago said the MPC Schools Challenge brings out a tough contest amongst South Africa’s top economics learners and also heightens interest in economics amongst high school learners.

“I’m honoured to be standing here as we pay tribute to some of the most outstanding economics learners in the country. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) Schools Challenge was launched as a pilot programme in 2012 by the South African Reserve Bank in conjunction with the Gauteng department of education. The challenge is a competition for Grade 12 economics learners, which exposes them to how the MPC sets the repurchase rate,” said Kganyago.

“It [the MPC Schools Challenge] also aims to increase the level of interest in economics as a subject of choice and to encourage learners to pursue a career in economics. The SARB has since expanded the challenge to other provinces as follows: in 2014 we included Limpopo, in 2015 we included the Free State, in 2016 we included Mpumalanga, and in 2017 the Eastern Cape, the North West and the Northern Cape provinces.”

Kganyago said the awards ceremony was very significant as, for the first time, learners from all nine provinces had participated in the challenge. 

“In July 2017, the Minister of Basic Education [Angie Motshekga] and I, launched the national roll-out of this challenge at a media conference held here, at the SARB, where it was announced that KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape provinces will be participating from 2018. The number of participating schools has since risen from 70 in 2012 to 813 in 2018 – impacting on 3 212 learners.”

The SARB chief said given the quality of work presented by learners during the hard-fought contest, he has no doubt “that tomorrow’s economy is in safe hands”.

Motshekga paid tribute to the SARB, applauding its role in nurturing young minds and preparing the nation’s future leaders.

“This programme was conceptualised with an understanding of the immense need to improve financial and economic literacy amongst our young people. I do believe that the MPC, throughout the years – and I have had the privilege of attending quite a number of them – has had such great success,” she said.

The 2018 winners, Krugersdorp High School, received R20 000 for the school and R10 000 for each participating learner, as well as a collectable Nelson Mandela commemorative coin and an iPad for each learner and the educator. 

The second-place team, Potchefstroom Gimnasium, received R15 000 for the school, as well as R8 000 and a collectable Nelson Mandela commemorative coin for each participating learner.

The joint third-place winners, Springs Girls School and Orhovelani High School, received R11 000 for their respective schools, as well as R6 000 and a collectable Nelson Mandela commemorative coin for each participating learner.

African News Agency (ANA)