Efficiency ofproviding financial education in schools

When addressing young people’s needs for greater financial competencies, the role of schools is paramount.

Research suggests that there is a link between financial literacy and family economic as well as educational background: those who are more financially literate disproportionately come from highly educated and financially sophisticated families (Lusardi, Mitchell, and Curto, 2010; Atkinson and Messy, 2012). In order to provide equality of opportunity, it is important to offer financial education to those who would not otherwise have access to it. Schools are well positioned to advance financial literacy among all demographic groups (including vulnerable groups such as low income and/or migrants families) within a generation, which will help to break the cycle of generational financial illiteracy. Schools also have the potential to reach out to parents, teachers and to disseminate sound financial habits in the wider community.

Moreover, school provides a relevant context to develop high quality teaching and effective learning. Existing curricula, pedagogical tools and school resources can indeed be harnessed to address youth’s needs for financial education. Children in the school context are also a particularly appropriate audience with the necessary time and ability to leam. The country case studies of effective practices presented in the following chapters as well as the results of impact assessments notably conducted in Brazil (Bruhn, M., et al 2013, forthcoming) demonstrate that the introduction of financial education is effective when delivered in an engaging and consistent way (Luhrmann et al., 2012).

Recognising both the importance of financial literacy for youth and the unique potential of school programmes, an increasing number of countries started delivering financial education in schools. OECD/INFE ongoing surveys reveal that over 40 countries have introduced some form of financial education in schools. These initiatives are developed at national, regional and local levels and also include pilot exercises. A shorter but constantly evolving list of countries have introduced financial education as a compulsory subject in schools generally through a cross-curricular approach.

Most countries however highlight that the introduction of financial education in schools is challenging for a series of reasons, including limited political willingness, and commitment; overloaded curricula; insufficient expertise and know how; lack of high quality materials; lack of resources and time; as well as the variety of stakeholders involved.

Against this backdrop, the following Chapter (2) sketches out the experience of countries which have overcome these challenges through strategies to secure the support of government and public authorities, and flexible but consistent approaches to the introduction of financial education into schools. It also highlights tools to support the provision of financial education in schools (including the training of teachers and the development of good pedagogic materials); and to ensure the sustainability of the programmes (including earmarking of resources and evaluation of programmes). Chapter 3 then addresses the content of learning frameworks developed for financial education in schools. Finally, the INFE Guidelines for Financial Education in Schools displayed in Annex A provide policy makers and interested stakeholders with high-level international guidance on the introduction of financial education in schools and guidance on the development of adapted learning frameworks.

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