While the Pacific region is still considered as one of the least-banked regions in the world, it is becoming a forerunner in terms of financial education, particularly to its youth: in 2009, at the Pacific Islands Forum, the Forum Education and the Forum Economic Ministers’ Meetings agreed on working to expose all school children to financial education by 2020.
“The wellbeing of rural households can be quantifiably improved if one person in that household attends financial literacy training and has a savings account”, says a study on Financial Capability, Financial Competencies and Wellbeing in Rural Fijian Households, conducted by PFIP in 2009. In the framework of its work on the subject, PFIP, together with the Fiji Ministry of Education, is managing the Fiji Financial Education Curriculum Development (FinED Fiji) Project, to introduce financial education within the school core curriculum by the 2013 school year.
FinED Fiji will bring knowledge, skills and confidence in money-handling to Fijian kids, by embedding financial education within the school curriculum: from Maths, English, Social Studies subjects (Primary), to Commerce Studies, Maths, English, Accounting and Economics subjects (Secondary). Its success is based on a strong involvement of the Ministry of Education, FinEd regional champion teachers and schools across Fiji, and funding by the Australian Aid Bilateral Program in Fiji.
Since its launch in January 2011, FinED Fiji has achieved its framework development phase and has started developing learning and teaching materials. The selection and training of champion teachers has been achieved and planning for school testing and teacher training capacitation has started. Last November, regional primary and secondary school teachers, Ministry of Education officers and staff from the Ministry’s Curriculum Advisory Services Team underwent two four-day workshops in Suva, to learn innovative methods to impart knowledge to students through educational lessons and games designed to teach children how to manage their money and their investments.
Through their years at school, children will progressively learn what money is, how to save, budget and spend wisely, how to generate and manage income and wealth, how to plan for the future and manage financial risks, etc. From 2013 on, 910 schools (735 primary, 175 secondary) gathering 197,000 students (40% of whom are female), will receive financial education on an annual basis.
*PFIP (Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme) was developed in 2008 to provide sustainable financial services to low-income households. It is funded by UNDP UNCDF, AusAid and the European Union (through ACP/EU MICROFINANCE).