The Financial Services Board of South Africa (FSBSA) has been a main promoter of financial education in schools in South Africa. The FSBSA is an independent institution established by statute to oversee the South African non-banking financial services industry. The mission of the FSBSA is to promote and maintain a sound financial investment environment in South Africa.
The vision of the consumer education strategy is to see that all South Africans manage their personal and family financial affairs soundly and that irresponsible financial services providers are reported. As part of the Strategy, the FSBSA identified the formal education sector as a key area for creating awareness about financial literacy and consumer education.
The election of the first democratic South African government in 1994 brought about the initiation of processes to restructure the South African educational system to address apartheid inequities. The restructuring brought about the establishment of a national and nine provincial Departments of Education (DoE) to govern the education system in South Africa. In 2009, the DoE was split into the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the
Department of Higher education and Training (DoHET). The DBE is responsible for formal schooling while the DoHET is responsible for institutes of higher learning. Both departments are responsible for formulating policy, setting norms and standards, and monitoring and evaluating all levels of education within their respective mandates. The DBE shares a concurrent role with the provincial departments of education for school education. The Constitution of South Africa has, however vested substantial power in the provincial legislatures and governments to run educational affairs, subject to a national policy framework. The South African Schools Act, 1996, further devolves responsibility to school level by delegating the governance of public schools to democratically elected school-governing bodies, consisting of parents, educators, non-educator staff and (secondary school) learners.
The role of the DBE is therefore to translate the education policies of government and the provisions of the constitution into a national education policy and legislative framework, which needs to be implemented by the provincial departments. The foundation for these educational changes was based on the development of an outcomes- based curriculum framework which aimed to equip learners with the knowledge, skills and values necessary for self-fulfilment and meaningful participation in society, irrespective of their socio-economic background, culture, race, gender, physical or intellectual ability. It was during the design and development of the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) in 2003, that the FSBSA, together with other stakeholders in the financial sector, made recommendations to the then DoE to enable the inclusion of financial education as part of specific subjects and learning areas. As a result, provision was made for the inclusion of consumer financial education in the learning area Economic and Management Sciences (EMS) for grades R to 9 (5 to 15- year-olds), and in the subjects accounting, mathematics, mathematical literacy, business and economics for grades 10 to 12 (16 to 18- year-olds). In 2010, the NCS was reviewed and was amended to include the Curriculum Assessment and Policy Statements Grades R-12 (CAPS). The phasing-in process of the amended NCS commenced in 2012 and will be completed in 2014. CAPS aimed to simplify the teaching process by making the curriculum more accessible by providing clear topics, teaching plans and assessment strategies.
The amended NCS and the introduction of CAPS resulted in the restructuring of subjects and content knowledge across the curriculum. In terms of CAPS, EMS is to be offered from grades 7-9 (ages 12-15) and will include the 40% of the curriculum being dedicated specifically to the topic of financial literacy. Financial literacy will also be embedded in Accounting, Mathematical Literacy, Consumer Studies and Business Economics for grades 10-12 (ages 16-18). The FSBSA has continued to support the DBE in the promotion of financial literacy through the development of CAPS complaint curriculum material and orientation workshops for teachers. All material developed has been endorsed by the DBE.
In a South African context, convincing the DBE to change policy to include financial education goes hand-in-hand with convincing provincial education authorities to implement programmes approved on a national level. However, the FSBSA managed to gain the support of the Minister of Education for their teacher development programmes. Regular communication with the Minister and/or designated staff including reporting on financial education programmes in the schools has resulted in a valuable relationship between the regulator and the DBE so much so that the FSBSA was and continues to be invited to undertake financial education projects in partnership with the DBE. In 2013, the FSBSA received special commendation from the DBE for their efforts in embedding financial literacy in the school curriculum.