Earlier this month, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) announced it would begin supporting the teaching of consumer and financial literacy in schools.
The move follows a number of related initiatives, including MoneySmarts, a financial literacy program being rolled out across all three school sectors in Queensland.
Now, this kind of education has been given a further boost with the involvement of the Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) in an upcoming event targeted at improving students’ financial education.
Global Money Week, an annual international money awareness initiative founded in 2012, will run from 27 March to 2 April, and is aimed at building the skills of parents and trusted advisers to educate children on the basics of financial literacy.
The sessions will be focused on encouraging conversations that improve children's and family understanding about basic financial literacy including debt, credit, affordability and security.
The Educator spoke to the MFAA’s head of marketing and communications, Stephen Hale, who outlined the program in more detail.
TE: Why is it important for school children to have an understanding on financial literacy?
SH: Many commentators talk about the poor financial literacy amongst both parents and young Australians. The MFAA sees the need to build basic financial literacy so that school children are better prepared to begin their lives when they join the broader community. Our finance members deal with these issues daily and see the need for improved education on fundamental life skills such as saving, understanding the difference between needs and wants, and budgeting. Developing a solid base of understanding can guide them towards a happier life after they leave school.
TE: Can you tell us about how this program will work, and how it will support educators to drive this type of education in their classrooms?
SH: The Global Money Week program is a free, engaging education presentation designed for all levels of school children to learn practical tips to help them manage money. The sessions take around 25 minutes for primary and 45 minutes for high school and there are no sign ups required by any participants. We encourage parents to join any session as on-going home support is vital to embedding the right behaviours. We have over 12,000 finance professionals to deliver programs nationally, including regional areas. Last year our members presented to groups of all sizes, from a class of 15 to assembly halls of 300 students.
TE: What role can principals play in driving financial literacy in their schools?
SH: Principals can review the ability of the school to deliver basic financial literacy education in so that healthy habits children need can begin to be embedded. There are many resources ranging from regulators like ASIC with the MoneySmart program to associations such as the MFAA who are committed to community activities. Principals who engage with the teachers and parents’ groups tend to get real traction with progressive initiatives, especially when they can be tailored to suit the demographics of each school.