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Students from Borneo wins economics essay competitions for two consecutive years

Essay competition article image

Students from Kota Kinabalu, Grace Wong Szee En and Agnes Lim Hai Thong have won the annual economics essay competition organised by the University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM). The duo is A Levels students from Institut Sinaran Kota Kinabalu who co-authored the winning essay. Last year, Gwendolyn Chan Hui Pei, an STPM student from SMK Batu Lintang in Kuching, bagged the first prize.

The essay competition was organised by UNM’s School of Economics and the World Bank Group Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Finance Hub in Malaysia.

The topic for the essay competition this year was “Why is climate change an issue in Malaysia? What climate change mitigation and adaptation measures would you suggest to the government? Discuss.” It was opened to all pre-university and high school students in Malaysia.

A prize-giving ceremony was held on 22 August in Kuala Lumpur with the attendance of World Bank Country Manager for Malaysia Dr Yasuhiko Matsuda, UNM Dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Dr Jason Pandya-Wood, and UNM Head of School of Economics Dr Teo Wing Leong.

UNM School of Economics has been organising this essay competition since 2014, and for the past two years, the School has partnered with the World Bank on this.

“We are delighted to organise this competition with the World Bank again this year, following last year's successful collaboration. The number of entries we received this year has increased close to 100% compared to last year, and we are impressed by the quality of the entries we received. We hope this competition will continue to inspire more students to explore interesting issues in Economics critically for years to come,” Dr Teo Wing Leong said.

Other winners of the competition included the second prize winner, Indeshwararaj Vijayanand from Sunway International School; third prize winner, Erica Yoong Ka Kei from Methodist College Kuala Lumpur; and consolation prize winners, AyuniSaffiya Shahril Nizam from Asia Pacific School, Ivan Voon Jun Xuan and Theodore Wee Jia Choon from Chung Hua Middle School No.1, Kuching, ThaminiVijeyasingam and Lim Chee Yuan from Methodist College Kuala Lumpur.

This year the prize-giving ceremony was held alongside a research seminar which provided a platform for presenting research interests by World Bank economists and UNM academics. Presenters from the World Bank were Dr Agustin Samano, Dr Francesca de Nicola, Dr Shafaat Yar Khan, and Dr Yu Cao, and academics from UNM School of Economics were Dr Luke Okafor, Dr Rasyad Parinduri, Dr Sakiru Solarin, and Dr Xiao Saizi.

Article image caption: Dr Ting Kok Onn, Private Sector Specialist, World Bank; Mohamed Rozani bin Mohamed Osman, Senior Financial Sector Specialist, World Bank; Dr Agustin Samano Penaloza, Research Economist, World Bank; Indeshwararaj Vijayanand, second prize winner of essay competition, Dr Yasuhiko Matsuda, World Bank Country Manager for Malaysia; Grace Wong Szee En and Ms Agnes Lim Hai Thong, first prize winner of essay competition, Dr Jason Pandya-Wood, Dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNM; Yoong Ka Kei, third prize winner of essay competition; Ayuni Saffiya binti Shahril Nizam and Thamini Vijeyasingam, consolation prize winner of essay competition; Dr Teo Wing Leong, Head of School of Economics, UNM and Dr Lau Siew Yee, Assistant Professor, School of Economics, UNM.

Thumbnail image caption: from left to right: Grace Wong Szee En, Agnes Lim Hai Thong and Dr Jason Pandya-Wood.


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The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2023, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide Sports University of the Year twice in three years, most recently in 2021. We are ranked seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. 

Posted on 24th August 2022

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