Financial education learning framework in Malaysia

History of the development of the framework

Bank Negara Malaysia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, has put forward a proposal (September 2013) for the introduction of financial education in the new 2014 school curriculum for primary schools and in 2017 for secondary schools. Under this proposal, financial education would be integrated into Bahasa Malaysia (as a stand-alone topic), Mathematics (as a stand-alone topic), English, Commerce and Economics.

The curriculum currently in place was developed in 2006 by the Bank, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and financial institutions that participate in the Schools Adoption Programme (SAP), The framework is for the time being used as a guide for financial education programmes conducted during the co-curriculum activities.

The SAP was introduced in 1997 as a way of inculcating savings and smart money management habits among school children, with the emphasis shifting to financial education by 2001.

Learning outcomes

The framework provides learning outcomes for each of the three dimensions of financial education.

Financial knowledge and understanding

The children should be able to demonstrate their understanding on:

  • • the nature and role of money in society
  • • sources of income;
  • • spending, savings and investment;
  • • credit and debt;
  • • financial services/products and advisory services;
  • • consumer rights, responsibilities and protection;
  • • the impact of advertising, ICT (information and communications technology) on managing finances.

Financial skills and competence

The children should be able to:

  • • keep financial records;
  • • analyse financial information;
  • • assess value of money;
  • • prepare and use budgets;
  • • make informed financial decisions.

Financial responsibility

The children should be able to:

  • • take increasing responsibility for making decisions with respect to themselves;
  • • analyse the potential impact of financial decisions on their family and community;
  • • evaluate potential risk and returns.

Topics/issues covered and goals

Primary School Children (7 to 12 years of age)

  • 1. Money / income
  • - recognising and counting coins and notes of Malaysian currency;
  • - currencies used in neighbouring countries;
  • - sources of income (earned and unearned);
  • - relationship between types of job and income earned.
  • 2. Money management
  • - money is a limited resource;
  • - managing money to fulfil one’s future wants and needs;
  • - prioritising, i.e. differentiating between needs and wants;
  • - saving money and other resources (e.g. electricity).
  • 3. Spending and debt
  • - simple planning and budgeting;
  • - borrowing money from friends is a bad habit;
  • - facts in advertisements can be misleading.
  • 4. Savings and investment
  • - benefits of saving;
  • - how money grows through compounding;
  • - differences between savings and investment.

Secondary School Children (13 to 17 years of age)

  • 1. Money / income
  • - various sources of income, e.g. return on investment, savings interest or rent;
  • - relationship between income, career choice and education requirement;
  • - inflation affects the purchasing power for goods and services.
  • 2. Money management
  • - setting short- and medium-term financial goals;
  • - making a financial decision making process;
  • - designing a personal financial plan.
  • 3. Spending and debt
  • - opportunity cost occurs in every spending decision;
  • - compare value of goods and services to get the best value for money;
  • - various payment methods that people pay for goods and services;
  • - benefits of costs of various types of consumer credit;
  • - calculation of how interest affects borrowing cost;
  • - describe rights and responsibilities of buyers and sellers under consumer protection laws
  • 4. Savings and investment
  • - appropriate financial products for different financial goals such as bank accounts for savings and stocks for investment;
  • - compare the risk, return and liquidity of investment alternatives;
  • - various factors affect the rate of returns of investment;
  • - calculate amount of savings accumulated given different times, rates of return and frequencies of compounding;
  • - how money grows through compounding.
  • 5. Risk management
  • - risk management strategies;
  • - insurance as a mean to transfer risk;
  • - types of insurance;
  • - how to recognise and avoid financial scam and identity theft.

Professional Development of Teachers

Bank Negara Malaysia in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and participating financial institutions in the School Adoption Programme conducts annual workshops to train teachers on how to deliver effective financial education activities. This is part of the professional development programmes for teachers.

Teachers’ Learning Resources

Lesson plans are being used by teachers and financial institutions as a guide in conducting financial education activities. Lesson plans on financial education activities developed by teachers are based on learning outcomes and topics provided in the framework.

Financial education learning framework in the Netherlands (see also Appendix


History of the development of the framework

In 2006, some 40 partners from the financial sector, the government, the field of science, and public information and consumer organisations concluded an agreement to work towards financial education, entitled CentiQ, the Money-Wise Guide. Some partners to this agreement included the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM), the General Pension Fund for Public Employees (ABP), Nibud (National Institute for Family Finance Information), the Fortis Foundation, the Consumers’ Association, and the Netherlands Institute for Curriculum Development (SLO). A schedule of activities oriented towards a five-year implementation period (2009-2013) was drawn up in 2008 (CentiQ, 2008). In 2008 Dutch authorities began the implementation of the national strategy for financial education, the Money Wise Platform, under the leadership of the Ministry of Finance.

Nibud developed a first framework in 2008 (Nibud, 2009) setting out the competences and learning goals for children and adolescents when dealing with money.

In 2012 Nibud decided to update the framework in order to reflect the new insights from research, the experience gained in its implementation, and to match more closely the competencies defined by the PISA Financial Literacy Framework (OECD, 2013).

These frameworks have informed all the financial education activities and related pedagogical materials developed within Dutch schools. The one developed in 2013 is currently being used as a reference in the talks with the Ministry of Economic Affairs for the development of a Financial Education and Entrepreneurship programme in Dutch schools, and is provided by the Ministry of Finance as a framework to publishers and authors drafting financial education materials and resources.

Competences and final goals

The “Nibud learning goals and competences” (Nibud, 2013) underline that learning to deal with money is becoming increasingly important for today’s children and adolescents, and that it is pivotal to ensure a smooth transition to independence, to avoid financial problems as well as to ensure social participation. Nibud believes that learning how to deal with money should be among the main attainment goals in education, and as such establishes very specific links with some of the goals for key subjects of the Dutch curriculum (in Arithmetic and mathematics, People and society, Economics, Career and practical discovery, Learning career and citizenship).

The framework divides students in four age groups: lower primary school (6-8, higher primary school (9-11), lower intermediary school (12-14) and upper secondary school/intermediate vocational school (15-17). The description of learning goals indicates what children are capable of at a given age, but does not intend to set actual behaviours.

The framework identifies five themes: three themes identified as core competencies (mapping, responsible spending and anticipating) and two support competencies to the first three (dealing with financial risks, and having sufficient knowledge). The final goals,

i.e. what adolescents should know by the time they are 18, for each theme are set out below. A detailed framework with learning goals by age and theme is provided in Annex 3.3.

Main theme 1: mapping

Adolescents are able to keep clear accounts so that they know where they stand and can find information easily. This allows them to meet payment obligations and understand how to keep their income and expenditure balanced.


  • • Keeping proper accounts.
  • • Performing transactions.
  • • Earning money of your own.
  • • Keeping track of income and expenditure.

Main theme 2: responsible spending

Adolescents spend their income so that their income and expenditure are balanced in the short term. Their purchasing behaviour is in keeping with their personal preferences and what they can afford.


• Making choices.

  • • Controlling temptation.
  • • Comparing prices and products.

Main theme 3: anticipating

Adolescents understand that wishes and events have medium- and long-term financial consequences and they take account of this, among other things by assessing opportunities to save and borrow money and obtain insurance.


  • • Financial planning.
  • • Saving.
  • • Dealing with loans.
  • • Obtaining insurance.

Main them 4: dealing with financial risks

Adolescents are aware of the financial risks associated with situations, events and financial products. In the light of what they can afford, they make choices that take account of their personal situation and preferences and the associated risks.

Main topics:

  • • Assessing the financial consequences and risks of events and situations.
  • • Assessing the risks and yields of products with financial consequences.

Main theme 5: having sufficient knowledge (knowing the financial landscape)

Adolescents have all the relevant knowledge to balance their income and expenditure and keep them balanced in the short, medium and long term.


  • • Knowing the value of money.
  • • Having knowledge of financial concepts and topics.
  • • Knowing their rights and duties as consumers and employees.
  • • Being able to obtain advice and help on money matters.
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