WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In high schools across the world, most students graduate without any exposure to the concepts of market economics. The Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI), based in Vilnius, sought to change that by developing its Economics in 31 Hours textbook, which has been awarded this year's prestigious Templeton Freedom Award. The award, generously supported by the Templeton Religion Trust, was presented during Atlas Network's Freedom Dinner on Nov. 10 in New York City at the historic Capitale.
"The importance of economic thinking cannot be underestimated," said Žilvinas Šilėnas, CEO of Lithuanian Free Market Institute. "Our individual and societal well-being depends on it. Unfortunately, economic education in schools is shallow at best, and incorrect at worst. Our aspiration is to win the battle for freedom of young minds. We are happy we have accomplished so much in pursuing this goal in an area where free-market ideas normally are not heard, in public schools and within the national school curriculum."
Economics in 31 Hours teaches how property rights, free exchange, profit, and competition shape decision-making in everyday life. Released in August 2015, the textbook is already used as part of the compulsory national curriculum by more than 60 percent of Lithuania's 9th and 10th graders, which amounts to more than 20,000 students. Instrumental in this success was official approval of Economics in 31 Hours by the Ministry of Education and Science and its registration as a recommended textbook for secondary schools.
Awarded since 2004, the Templeton Freedom Award is named for the late investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton. The award annually honors his legacy by identifying and recognizing the most exceptional and innovative contributions to the understanding of free enterprise, and the public policies that encourage prosperity, innovation, and human fulfillment via free competition.
"Sir John was probably most famous for his foresight in making investments that bear fruit in the long run," said Brad Lips, CEO of Atlas Network. "LFMI's ability to immerse nearly an entire country's young people in sound economic ideas represents an investment that is sure to bear immeasurable fruit both now and long into the future."
LFMI set out to produce an alternative curriculum that would build a solid foundation for free enterprise education and elevate the profile, relevance, and quality of economics education in Lithuania's upper secondary schools. The textbook includes lessons that develop an understanding of free enterprise and free competition among the younger generation as keys to advancing prosperity, innovation, and human fulfillment; and shape the way both students and teachers understand economics as an integral and inherent part of a complex social reality.
In a country that only a short time ago was under communist control, Economics in 31 Hours is giving the next generation of Lithuanian youth a fighting chance to learn the economics of freedom.
LFMI received a $100,000 prize for winning the award and the five runners-up each received $25,000. LFMI also won the 2014 Templeton Freedom Award for its Municipal Performance Index for Freedom and Free Enterprise, which measures and ranks the performance of municipal governments in three overarching categories: municipalities for citizens, municipalities for investors, and municipal governance and administration.
About Atlas Network
Washington-based Atlas Network is a nonprofit organization that strengthens the worldwide freedom movement by connecting more than 450 independent partners in over 90 countries that share the vision of a free, prosperous, and peaceful world where limited governments defend the rule of law, private property, and free markets. AtlasNetwork.org
SOURCE Atlas Network