Reception at The Retirement Commissions offices in Wellington Reception at The Retirement Commissions offices in Wellington CREDIT: Mark Coote

Banks contribute to financial literacy initiative in schools

Tuesday 24 June 2008, 9:56PM
By Retirement Commission

Plans to teach financial literacy in schools moved a step closer today when the Retirement Commission received more than $400,000 from the country's banks to help fund a trial programme in ten schools.
The Retirement Commission is leading the project aimed at developing a framework for schools to assist in teaching students money skills so that when they leave school they can make informed financial decisions.

Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan says the significant contribution from the country's banks means the trial can proceed more quickly than expected.

"We have spent the past few years working closely with the Ministry of Education and other agencies to develop a framework on financial education. The trial is now underway and will continue through terms three and four. An independent evaluation of the trial will also be conducted."

Speaking on behalf of the New Zealand Bankers' Association spokesman Cameron Clyne says the banking industry is offering more products and more choices. "People need the skills to successfully navigate their way through the choices available to them, to make good decisions and to understand how best to manage their money.

"We're please to be part of this financial education initiative which aims to equip the next generation of New Zealanders with the skills they need to make smart financial decisions."

It is expected that the personal financial education programme will be handed over to the Ministry of Education sometime next year. A group of organisations, including the Retirement Commission, is also assisting the New Zealand Qualifications Authority develop NCEA qualifications for use in senior secondary schools and tertiary institutions.

Note: The ten schools involved in the trial are: Alfriston College, Onehunga High, Otahuhu College and Mangere Central Primary in Auckland; Hampton Hill Primary, Tawa Intermediate and Scots College Prep in Wellington; Brooklyn Primary, Ranzau Primary and Brightwater School in Nelson/Tasman.

Personal Financial Education Framework for Schools

Frequently asked questions and answers

Why is the framework necessary?

The financial environment has changed markedly in the past couple of decades. ATMs provide 24 hour access to money, and the use of loans and credit is widespread and socially acceptable. In addition banks and finance companies are offering a wider range of products. With more choice comes more complexity. People need to be equipped to successfully navigate their way through that complexity to make informed decisions about their finances. The earlier the education starts, the better.

How did the idea for a framework come about?

Since the late nineties, the Retirement Commission has been supporting the Enterprise New Zealand Trust with its work to provide support to schools on financial education. In 2003, the Commission initiated a project to provide guidance to schools to teach personal financial education as part of the curriculum.

How was the framework developed?

Work on the framework started in 2004. It was developed in conjunction with finance and education sector specialists. It has been redrafted following workshops, advice from teachers and input from those experienced in developing school resources.

How does the framework fit with the current curriculum?

Personal financial education will be taught within existing subject areas, such as mathematics and social sciences rather than introducing a new subject. The trial involves year 1-10 students, however once introduced into all schools it will include all students to year 13.

Why does the framework need trialling?

An independent evaluation of the work undertaken in the ten schools will measure the quality and effectiveness of the initiative. It will identify the necessary resources, support and professional development required by teachers.

What’s involved in the trial?

The schools will be trialling a variety of approaches to personal financial education in areas like mathematics, social studies and technology. The framework aims to develop student competencies such as managing their money and understanding financial planning. The trial is being conducted by Educating NZ, a company with extensive knowledge in education and training, including curriculum and education initiatives.

How were the ten schools chosen for the pilot?

All schools were invited to participate. A range of schools were chosen to include private and public schools, primary and secondary schools, a range of deciles, and those experienced in personal financial education and others for whom this is a completely new area.

Will it be evaluated?

Yes. All major projects of this kind are evaluated. A contract for the evaluation of the pilot will be finalised soon.

What happens after the evaluation?

The development of the framework and the trial is being conducted with the full support and involvement of the Ministry of Education. The Ministry will take over responsibility for ongoing development and promotion from July next year (2009).