The Schools Challenge 2024: students imagine and build a more inclusive city
On 23 November 2023, 45 middle school students from Seine-Saint-Denis met at the Learning Planet Institute to launch a programme […]
26 02 2024
The Schools Challenge 2024: students imagine and build a more inclusive city

On 23 November 2023, 45 middle school students from Seine-Saint-Denis met at the Learning Planet Institute to launch a programme during their 9th grade: The Schools Challenge.

Created by JPMorgan Chase, with the support and expertise of the Learning Planet Institute, The Schools Challenge is an educational mentoring programme. The Schools Challenge is a programme deployed in six cities around the world to develop the career prospects of young people. The programme guides participants to develop skills in areas such as teamwork, problem solving and oral presentation. It supports young people to make more informed decisions about possible paths and future careers.


For six  months, with the help of their Learning Planet Institute and JPMorgan Chase mentors, the students imagine and prototype their projects for a sustainable city. In nine  workshops, students and mentors give shape to their ideas and double down  ontheir commitment and creativity.

In the run-up to the 2024 Olympic Games, secondary school pupils will be faced with a new challenge: to come up with an inclusive sports facility that will fit in perfectly with their neighbourhood, on the outskirts of their school. Their prototype will have to meet technical and ergonomic criteria, as well as criteria of inclusiveness and accessibility, by questioning the place of disability, gender and morphologies (according to age and physical and motor abilities) in public space.

The Schools Challenge 2023 ©Quentin Chevrier


After a warm welcome from François Taddei, Chairman of the Learning Planet Institute, and Olivier Simon, Managing Director of JP Morgan Chase, the students met their sponsor, Romain Riboud. A former Paralympic athlete (double world champion in handisport skiing, double silver medallist at the Paralympic Games and flag-bearer for the French team at the Vancouver Paralympic Games), this multi-medalled sportsman had words of support and encouragement for his godchildren:

“You’re going to learn to work together, you’re going to learn from each other, and I think you’re going to have a great little journey that will help you grow. It’s a real school for life to have this kind of challenge. I invite you to take full advantage of this experience and to hang in there, even if there are difficulties, to help each other out. That’s how you make progress.”, Romain Riboud

The students from Miriam Makeba and Iqbal Masih middle schools (Seine-Saint-Denis) then met their mentors. The Learning Planet Institute mentors will be working with them throughout the year to raise their awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals and the engineering sciences. Complementing them, the 18 mentors from JPMorgan Chase will introduce them to project management: from the business plan to prototyping a solution and pitching it.

To close the launch, the alumni of the 2022/2023 year addressed a few words to their successors:

“For the new third-year students who will be taking part in The Schools Challenge: this is not a programme that develops a competitive spirit, but rather a spirit of fraternity (…), a spirit that means sharing many things with your fellow students and with adults.”, Chaïma, alumni of the 2023 edition.

“I was lucky enough to take part in The Schools Challenge and it was a great experience. You can talk about it at your exams. It’s a project where you’re in the classroom but you’re not sitting in a chair listening to a lecture. You get the chance to practise, to talk to people you don’t see every day, and that’s really great for third-year students.”, Maram, alumni of the 2023 edition.

The Schools Challenge 2023 ©Quentin Chevrier


  • Girls in STEM Day: a day to raise awareness of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers among girls in Year 9, through workshops and meetings with professionals.

  • Prototyping day at the MakerLab: a day during which secondary school pupils will use the Learning Planet Institute’s MakerLab (an evolution of the fablab) to build life-size prototypes of their ideas, using woodworking tools and digital tools (3d printers, laser cutters, etc.).

  • Creathon: a one-day hackathon for students and JPMorgan Chase mentors to work together on a solution to the following challenge: “How can we bring the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games into the everyday lives of the people of Seine-Saint-Denis? The Learning Planet Institute will become an idea accelerator, and who knows, incubate one of the solutions.

  • Final at JPMorgan Chase: all the pupils from the two colleges meet to present their projects to the other pupils and to a panel of professionals.

  • International meeting: the third-year students who won the Grand Prize will present their project in London in front of students from all over Europe (and in English)!


  • 7 years running in France, including 5 supported by the Learning Planet Institute
  • 6 countries taking part (United Kingdom, Germany, France, Brazil, Singapore, Hong Kong).
  • 175+ students supported over the last 5 years
  • 5 secondary schools in Seine-Saint-Denis
  • + More than 30 prototypes created
  • Sustainable Development Goals concerned: 3, 11 and 12


Read more about our Youth projects and programmes!

This publication is part of the UNESCO Chair in Learning Sciences, established between UNESCO and Université Paris Cité, in partnership with the Learning Planet Institute. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the UNESCO. The UNESCO can be held responsible for them.

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