Swiss National Bank

Mission and responsibility

Mission

Iconomix is an educational programme developed by the Swiss National Bank (SNB). It is aimed at teachers of economics and humanities at Swiss upper secondary schools. Designed for use in conjunction with existing economics teaching resources, iconomix offers specialised teaching material that is reviewed and updated on a regular basis. The contents are freely accessible and use is free of charge, though certain functions and services are only available to registered teaching staff. Iconomix is available in full in German, French and Italian, and partially in English.

With iconomix, its educational platform, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) aims to enhance the knowledge of young adults in matters of finance and economics. It is intended for use by the over 4,200 teachers of economics and humanities at Swiss upper secondary schools. Iconomix conveys basic economic principles that can be applied to explain numerous business situations. They include market, competition and price formation principles, as well as the principle of externalities. This range of topics is presented in a professional fashion in around 100 teaching units, including the various language versions. The guiding educational principle behind iconomix is problem-solving learning: On the basis of real-life problems, students are expected to apply appropriate methods to acquire knowledge and skills as independently as possible.

Iconomix is intended as a tool that teachers can use in addition to their own material, in line with their and their students’ requirements. Accordingly, iconomix offers a broad range of topics, methodological and didactic formats and educational levels. Besides its teaching units, iconomix provides a regularly updated selection of reliable internet sources connected to the subject of economics. Through the organisation of training events and symposiums, the programme also fosters expertise and the exchange of information among teachers.

Responsibility

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) launched iconomix in 2007 with the aim of promoting economic and financial literacy in Switzerland. A central bank’s decisions ultimately have far-reaching consequences for the population. As many people as possible should therefore be able to comprehend the underlying considerations. In Switzerland, where citizens regularly vote on economic issues at all levels of government, a good understanding of how the economy works is particularly important.

The SNB attaches great importance to passing on its economic expertise to the population, and to ensuring that the general public has a good basic understanding of economic matters. Its endeavours in this regard range from a study centre for central bankers and economists to the iconomix educational programme, a public lecture series and support for the publication of specialised textbooks. The ways in which the SNB exercises its responsibility towards society and the environment are set forth in the Sustainability Report.

Manuel Wälti, SNB: «The Swiss National Bank goes to school – with Iconomix» - www.snb.ch/

SNB Quarterly Bulletin Studie, 2/2018 June

Carlos Lenz and Manuel Wälti, SNB: «Swiss National Bank investing in education» - www.iconomix.ch/

«Die Volkswirtschaft 8–9 / 2017»

Jean-Pierre Roth, Chairman of the Governing Board from 2001 to 2009: “iconomix” – Discovering economics - www.snb.ch/

Speech at the press conference on the launch of iconomix, Berne, 31 October 2007