The Guidelines for Financial Education in Schools (COREMEC, 2009b) approved by the National Committee on Financial Education (CONEF) and drafted in co-operation with stakeholders from federal and local education authorities and national financial institutions part of the Pedagogical Support Group, opted for a cross-curricular approach in the introduction of financial education in schools.
The introduction of financial education in schools is proposed in the context of interrelationship of ideas and phenomena. Schools are called to support the development of values, knowledge and skills that are important for driving an autonomous financial life. The Guidelines identify a group of objectives sought with the implementation of financial education school programmes, relating either to the spatial or the temporal dimension, or the balance of financial life (the equilibrium between consumption and savings ensured by appropriate planning). Throughout the Guidelines, Brazilian authorities stress the linkages between individual actions and their impact on society.
The Guidelines identify spatial and temporal dimensions of financial education. The objectives of the spatial dimension are training for citizenship, teaching to consume and save in an ethical well-informed and responsible manner, offering concepts and tools for autonomous decision-making process based on a change of attitude and training disseminators (by which youth education determines positive spillovers on families and communities). In the temporal dimension, the Guidelines aim at teaching short- mid- and long-term planning, developing the culture of prevention, and providing the possibility of change (social mobility), contents and individual scope.
The pedagogical section of the Guidelines further defines financial education as promoting dialogue between different areas of knowledge, and as such calls for financial education to be introduced as a theme that easily transits among different topics already part of students’ curriculum. The Guidelines identify Environment, Work and Consumption, as well as Tax Education as the subjects that would more easily allow for the integration of financial education topics.
The Guidelines apply the spatial and temporal dimensions of financial education also to the development of future materials, for both teachers and students. They underline in particular the need to allow students to face situations that prepare them to manage financial aspects of their future lives addressing their individual situation in the context of other spaces (local, regional, national and global); and to teach students to connect actions of the present to the accomplishment of future goals and dreams.
To meet these criteria, the Guidelines state that pedagogical materials must:
- • explore students’ lives at the individual and social levels;
- • present different learning opportunities that might be used in different areas of learning and subjects;
- • suggest activities involving the community;
- • consider the importance of the recreational element, depending on age and content;
- • provide roadmaps for teachers;
- • explore the prior knowledge of students;
- • respect cultural diversity and regional differences;
- • allow easy customisation to different contexts and updates; and
- • indicate the possible use of technological tools and resources as a complement to the teaching.
Finally, in order to adapt to an educational system in which local schools enjoy autonomy from the federal government, Brazilian authorities have devised a flexible implementation approach in which voluntary teachers from different disciplines can opt to teach financial education.