TSL International Schools Essay Competition and Debate 2018

TSL International Schools Essay Competition and Debate 2018


Deadline: December 15, 2017

Trust for Sustainable Living (TSL) is now accepting entries for the 2018 International Schools Essay Competition and Debate.  The Global essay competition and debate invites school children to explore practical ways to conserve and sustainably use our oceans, seas and marine resources (SDG 14). The annual TSL essay competition and debate is aimed at primary students and secondary students, supported by Teacher Champions and schools.

The 2018 Debate themes are:

  • Primary students (ages 7-11) – ‘We can save the world’s oceans, seas and marine resources by 2030’
  • Secondary students (ages 11-17) – ‘This house believes that the targets of UN SDG 14 are achievable’

The 2018 Essay Competition topics:

Each student is invited to submit one essay in English, entitled:

  • Primary students: ‘My plan to protect and manage our oceans, seas and marine resources’ (max. 400 words)
  • Secondary students: ‘My plan to protect and manage our oceans, seas and marine resources’ (max. 600 words)


TSL Schools Sustainability Challenge 2018: In addition to the essay competition, the Trust for Sustainable Living runs a parallel international contest called the Schools Sustainability Challenge.


One overall Grand Prize winner (plus Teacher Champion and parent) will win a free trip to the TSL 2018 Debates & Awards in the Seychelles, which will take place during the first week of July 2018. In addition, medals will be awarded in each category for the top ten essays and for the best individual and group contributions at the Debates.

All students and Teacher Champions who participate in the essay competition are invited to attend the Debates and Awards, regardless of whether their essays are singled out for special recognition as Finalists or Honourable Mentions. Please note: The Debate programme and registration details will follow in due course.

The winning essays will be published on the competition website.


  • Open to Primary students (ages 7-11) and Secondary school students (ages 11-17) students worldwide supported by Teacher Champions and schools.


An international judging panel, drawn from experts and educationalists in the field, will select the winning entries for each age category. The essays will be judged for

  • originality and creative thinking
  • the potential to contribute to a broad-ranging and constructive international debate.

Key Dates

  • 7 September to 15 December 2017 – School/Teachers register to participate as Teacher Champions.
  • 15 December 2017 at midnight GMT  – Deadline for submission of essays
  • 31 January 2018 (2400 GMT) – Announcement of essay competition Finalists and Honourable Mention awardees.
  • 31 May 2018 – Registration deadline for the Schools Debates & Awards (registration is compulsory to attend).
  • 2-7 July 2018 – International Schools Debates, Awards and Visits, Victoria, Seychelles. In addition to the Primary and Secondary School Debates, which will take place on consecutive days, participants will enjoy a special programme of ocean-themed visits and events, including CPD for Teacher Champions in support of the global, UNESCO-led Education for Sustainable Development programme. All participants other than the Grand Prize Winner are responsible for making their own travel arrangements (e.g. flights, transfers, accommodation, subsistence and miscellaneous costs).

How to Enter

  • For each category, schools are invited to submit up to 30 essays online.
  • Register your School/Teacher Champion now(These must be submitted by the Teacher Champion, using the login details provided at registration. Paper and emailed copies cannot be accepted, and essays more than 10% over the word limit will be automatically rejected.)

To upload essays for your primary or secondary school, Teacher Champions should:

  • Login (using the username and password details sent to you when you registered).
  • Press ‘add essay’ button.
  • Paste in essay text, taking care to ensure that the paragraph formatting is retained (otherwise the essays are harder to read):
  • Primary students (ages 7-11) – ‘My plan to protect and manage our oceans, seas and marine resources’ (max 400 words)
  • Secondary students (ages 11-17) – ‘My plan to protect and manage our oceans, seas and marine resources’ (max 600 words)
  • Repeat as necessary (a maximum of 30 essays can be added for each category – primary or secondary).
  • Your selection of essays can be edited, deleted and re-saved until the deadline date.
  • Forgot your password or username? Visit the ‘forgot password’ page.

Email queries should be directed to: schools[AT]livingrainforest[DOT]org.

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