Ways to ensure the sustainability and efficiency of programmes Role of private financing: importance and challenges
Appropriate, commensurate and long-term resources are essential to the development of financial education in schools. The amount and nature of resources determines the scope of financial education programmes, their effectiveness and their duration. Against a background in which public funds for schools are often more easily channelled towards the standard components of school curricula, the involvement of the private sector can provide the input needed for the sustainability of the development of a learning framework for financial education in schools. Private funding can also bring additional benefits, such as the technical expertise on financial services of private stakeholders, which can complement the pedagogical expertise of the educational sector.
However, the involvement of the private sector can also give rise to the risk of conflicts of interest. Consequently, countries that took advantage of the availability of private funding have also developed means to monitor and manage possible conflicts of interest with the commercial activities of the institutions involved16. These experiences underline the importance of keeping the monitoring of the use of private funds in the hands of the public sector, an independent regulatory body or a recognised not-for-profit organisation (see also Box A1.2 in Annex A).
In some countries the private sector funds a variety of resources and projects through the provision of in-kind and financial resources (among these Malaysia, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic). The role of such private entities varies. Their role may include inputs for learning frameworks, organisation of workshops to train teachers or students, development of materials and lesson plans, distribution of materials and promoting awareness.
Other cases illustrate the existence and importance of public-private partnerships: in Australia, through the Australian regulator’s financial literacy education strategy; in Canada with partnerships between the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, the Canadian Bankers Association; in Japan through the Central Council for Financial Services Information (CCFSI) and Local Committees for Financial Services Information in partnership with the private sector; and finally in South Africa with the creation of an independent trust that serves as a vehicle for donors’ support, the Financial Services Consumer Education Foundation.
In countries where the private sector is actively involved, and as highlighted by the INFE Guidelines, strong attention has been paid to potential conflicts of interest arising in particular from the creation and provision of pedagogic material. For most, assurance was provided through government leadership or independent committees of experts drafting guidelines, checking that materials correspond to the curricula and assessing them for hidden adverts. The Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and the United States have created standards specifying that financial education should develop and increase financial literacy but not serve as a marketing tool for products and services.
In addition, the involvement of the private sector reinforces the need for a certification or accreditation process for related resources: this applies both to the provision of material (to avoid the presence of branding and marketing messages), to the development and organisation of training, and to the active involvement in classroom teaching by volunteers.
The Financial Stability Board of South Africa developed a new and neutral logo for material developed through partnerships. Such requirement is clearly stated on the partnership’s contract, which also clarifies that industry marketing may only appear on a false cover attached to the approved materials. The United Kingdom has the pfeg ‘Quality Mark’ as a method of quality assurance so teachers know that the materials are accurate and match curriculum requirements.
The following case studies provide examples of different approaches to the funding of financial education programmes. In Brazil, the private sector, through a dedicated association devoted to financial education, is responsible for raising funds for school programmes (in addition to public funding). In Malaysia, there is extensive private sector involvement in funding financial education in schools, with Bank Negara Malaysia taking a strong leadership role in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. In contrast, in the United Kingdom, the Government and the private sector share responsibility for the funding of financial education in schools. Private sector funding occurs either directly to specific programmes or indirectly via the mechanism of the levy on the financial services sector.
In all three countries, the private sector provides significant in-kind support through the provision of volunteers who provide expert advice to schools and processes are in place to ensure possible conflicts of interest are avoided.
Concerning the risk of possible conflicts of interest, the cases selected are a good illustration of different ways of managing such risk: Brazil incorporates the private sector in the structure of the national strategy, to retain monitoring and oversight over programmes implementation. Malaysia opts for a centralised approach in which the Ministry of Education monitors the activities of financial institutions, in the United Kingdom it is the responsibility of individual schools and teachers to decide over the suitability of a resource but with the assistance of professional support programmes and thanks to the strong role played by a quality certificate awarded by the pfeg to private sector resources and by a forthcoming Code of Practice being developed by the Money Advice Service.