In Brazil, the introduction of financial education in schools was the first priority of the National Strategy (ENEF)5 established under the leadership of the Comiti Nacional Educagao Financeira (National Committee for Financial Education, CONEF). It was preceded by the creation of a dedicated institutional structure within the national strategy governing system and by the creation of a co-operation agreement with an association representing the private financial sector. The introduction of financial education took place through a pilot programme in public high schools (see also following section on evaluation).
In November 2007, the Brazilian government formed a working group to develop a National Strategy for Financial Education within the Supervisory and Regulatory Committee of Financial Systems, Capital Markets, Private Insurance and Social Welfare (COREMEC). The working group gathered representatives from the Central Bank of Brazil, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Brazil (CVM), the National Superintendence of Pensions Funds (PREVIC) and the Superintendence of Private Insurance (SUSEP).
COREMEC approved in 2009 a national strategy draft whose different sections were written under the co-ordination of one of the four financial regulators. One of the programmes devised was the introduction of financial education in schools, under the co-ordination of CVM. The other financial regulators made substantial contributions to the review of the action plan and to the guidelines for financial education included in the school curriculum. Notably considerable effort was invested to achieve a high level of involvement and co-operation between the Ministry of Education and other educational authorities from the very start.
Such involvement has been essential given the federal structure of the country. In Brazil, the federal government sets the general standards for schools but does not have direct responsibilities, with a few exceptions, on primary and secondary schools, which are mainly local (municipalities) and regional (states). Both levels have a large degree of autonomy in determining their curriculum.
To deal with this complexity and following the advice of the Ministry of Education, the working group put together a Pedagogical Support Group (Grupo de Apoio Pedagogico, GAP) with representatives from the local governments and the 27 states of the Brazilian Federation, the most relevant federal schools, the private sector and the federal government. The group also aimed at providing the technical advice needed to shape the programme in accordance with educational official methodology, as well as to facilitate the inclusion of financial concepts into the normal curriculum of primary and secondary schools.
This body provides pedagogic guidance to all programmes within the national strategy. It was officially established by a federal decree, is hosted by the Ministry of Education and includes members from both educational and financial public institutions:
- • The Ministry of Education (MEC), acting as President and serving as Executive Secretariat;
- • The Central Bank;
- • Securities and Exchange Commission of Brazil (CVM);
- • Brazil’s National Superintendence for Pension Funds (PREVIC);
- • Brazil’s Superintendence of Private Insurance (SUSEP);
- • National Council of Education (CNE);
- • Up to 5 federal educational institutions appointed by MEC;
- • National Council of Secretaries of Education (CONSED), the community of education professionals that act in Brazilian State governments, and the National Association of Municipal Education Managers (UNDIME), by invitation.
The creation of this institutional mechanism allowed a permanent dialogue both between financial and education authorities, and between central and local governments.