The competition engaged the participants in debate, formal presentations, formulation and policy analysis. The topics in the competition were based on real life issues in Bangladesh. It required logical thinking, critical reasoning and strong teamwork to solve the cases, writes Mahfuz Mizan
In There is hardly any university level competition dedicated to Economics. This was mentioned by both the champion and the runners-up teams of this year’s Econ Prodigy 2.0, an inter-university economics competition. ‘Econ Prodigy’ is the flagship event of NSU Young Economists’ Forum and one of the most prominent events of North South University. NSUYEF is a student run academic club of the university which work on Economics and its implications on business and social areas. The inaugural session of ‘Econ Prodigy’ took place in the year of 2015 and this year it returned as Econ Prodigy 2.0 in a much grander style. The month long program commenced on November 4 and concluded a month later. Throughout the whole timeframe, different rounds of sessions of the competition took place within NSU campus and the grand finale was hosted at the Plaza Area of the university.
The event started with online registration process that ran from November 4 to 17. With a registration fee of 600 taka, anyone from the same university, both private and public, could register with a team comprising of three members. An in-depth workshop took place for the participants where primary rules and required tools were explained on November 17. The competition engaged the participants in debate, formal presentations, formulation and policy analysis. The topics in the competition were based on real life issues in Bangladesh. It required logical thinking, critical reasoning and strong teamwork to solve the cases. The first round of the competition took place on November 21 where sixty teams shared their solutions through presentations on the topic ‘Trans Asia Railway Network’ and out of these sixty teams, twelve teams made it to the second round.
The second round of the event titled ‘Cross Talk’ consisted of two phases with debates on various topics. In the first phase, the twelve teams debated on issues regarding the Ruppur Nuclear Power Plant, Rampal Power Plant, and other issues which are of national interest. Six of the teams crossed the hurdle of the first round and made it to the second round which had three topics to debate on: 1) Should Bangladesh adopt policies that heavily disincentive urbanisation?, 2) Internal financing vs. world bank financing of the Padma bridge, which one would benefit the country more? 3) Will Trump Presidency be good or bad for Bangladesh?
Aymanul Islam, a member of the champion team informed that his team got the topic on Trump Presidency. His team was for the motion and this was an interesting moment for his team as he elaborates, ‘It was quite a challenge for us to bring out how Trump would be beneficial for Bangladesh by being indifferent towards his personal life and comments. I believe we made some strong points.’ After the second round was over, three teams made it to the final round: Econ Wiz, a group of students from Economics Department at Dhaka University, Final Flash and Maddened Jumbles from NSU.
On the day of the finale, the teams had a policy dialogue where they had to present what policies could Bangladesh undertake to move towards a middle income country status. After each presentation, the teams had to point out flaws and basically criticise the other team’s policies. Shawon Rayhan, one of the group members of Final Flash stated, ‘I learnt a lot from this policy dialogue round, since I’m studying Marketing in North South University and knew less about Economics, I learnt that if you try to implement policies on one sector of the country, then the other sectors will also be impacted in certain ways due.”
Upon completion of the policy dialogue, the invited guests delivered their speeches, including chief guest Azimuddin Ahmed, chairman of Board of Trustees, North South University; session chair professor Dr. Atiqul Islam, vice-chancellor, North South University and guest of honour Dr. Ahmed Kaikus, secretary in charge, Bangladesh Energy and Power Research Council. EconWiz of Dhaka University was declared as the champion team while the other two teams were runners up. The winners of Econ Prodigy received a cash reward of 1 lakh taka, the first runner-up Final Flash was awarded an amount of 50,000 taka and the second runner-up Maddened Jumbles, rewarded with 25,000 taka.
Econ Prodigy 2.0 was sponsored by Industrial Promotion and Development Company of Bangladesh and members of top six teams were shortlisted for recruitment at IPDC as well. Mominul Islam, managing director and chief executive officer of IPDC, praised the event, stating, ‘Econ Prodigy is a great platform for the youngsters of this country to implore and explore not only their personal attributes, but also issues of national interest in our country.’ The event concluded with the launch of the NSU Young Economists’ Forum’s magazine ‘Equilibrium’, followed by gala dinner. New Age was the media partner of Econ Prodigy 2.0.