In 2007, financial literacy was included in the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC)6. Developing financial literacy is highlighted as an example of the type of theme that schools could use for effective cross-curricular teaching and learning programmes. It further highlights the fact that all learning should make use of the natural connections that exist between learning areas and that link learning areas to the values and key competencies. The vision of the NZC is that students will be confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners. The cross curriculum theme of financial literacy supports this vision by providing a context for students to become:
- • enterprising and entrepreneurial contributors to their own well-being and that of New Zealand;
- • informed decision makers; and
- • financially literate and numerate.
In the New Zealand context, supporting students to become responsible, confident and independent managers of money is ultimately aimed at enabling them to live, learn, work, and contribute as active members of their communities.
The New Zealand’s first National Strategy for Financial Literacy (the Strategy) launched in June 2008, has been renewed in 2012 and now includes a five year action plan; implementation of this rests with the many stakeholders involved. The Strategy sets the direction for improving financial literacy in New Zealand. Its focus is on developing the quality of financial education, extending its delivery, sharing what works and working together. The Strategy and action plan are aimed at encouraging agencies and organisations to work together towards a shared understanding of goals and the commitment and pathways to achieve them. The Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income is the secretariat for the Strategy. The Strategy is overseen by a Board of senior government officials, including the Secretary of Education, and is chaired by the chair of a major finance sector body.
In June 2009, the Commission was able to transfer responsibility for the Financial Literacy Framework and for promotion and development of financial education in schools to the Ministry of Education.
This move was also intended to instil a sense of urgency in all schools to fully implement effective financial education programmes. The self-governing structure of the school system in New Zealand does present some opportunities as well as challenges. The school principals as leaders of teaching and learning have a responsibility to plan, with their staff and communities, their school curriculum (aligned with the national curricula - NZC and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa -TMoA) and lead what is being taught in their schools.
The New Zealand Qualifications Authority has also made available a set of unit standards for senior secondary schools to provide assessment opportunities in the financial literacy of secondary school students. The use of the unit standards are being monitored for their usage by schools.
The Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income and the Ministry of Education are working closely to develop resources to support teaching and learning in schools. A number of teaching and learning resources, available through the Ministry of Education Website, have been developed with the assistance of a range of providers. Some of the resources aim to link the Personal Financial Management Curriculum, the New Zealand Curriculum and a range of New Zealand Qualifications Authority unit standards.
The Commission also annually facilitates the Money Week held in the first week of September. This is proving to be an excellent way of providing teachers with additional resources and support with a focus on financial capability for a specific week. The Week has featured schools participating in a range of money themed activities including school wide quizzes, competitions, seminars and displays. Moreover, uptake by teachers of the resources is increasing.