Financial education learning framework in South Africa

History and development of the framework

The South African Government, through its Department of Basic Education (DBE) has opted to integrate financial literacy into learning areas and subjects within the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) Curriculum Assessment and Policy Statements (CAPS) of South Africa. The NCS CAPS structures the curriculum into learning areas and subjects, grade level and amount of content to be covered in each academic year in South Africa. There is no single framework for financial literacy, but financial literacy is mentioned within the topic areas of learning outcomes of specific subjects. The learning areas and subjects into which financial literacy is integrated are Economic and Management Sciences, Accounting, Business and Economic Sciences, Mathematical Literacy and Consumer Studies.

The Financial Services Board (FSBSA) has a Consumer Education strategy which includes two programmes. These are Community Education and Formal Education. The Formal Education programme aims to promote the integration of financial consumer education into the formal education curriculum. This is done in consultation with the DBE and provincial education departments.

Framework goals

The financial literacy goals of the above mentioned subjects are reflected in their weightings within the curriculum and the topic covered. These are:

Economic and Management Sciences (grade 7-9)

Weighting within the curriculum


The economy (Weighting of 30%)

  • 1. History of money
  • 2. Need and wants
  • 3. Goods and services
  • 4. Inequality and poverty
  • 5. The production process
  • 6. Government
  • 7. The National Budget
  • 8. Standard of living
  • 9. Markets
  • 10. Economic systems
  • 11. The circular flow
  • 12. Price theory
  • 13. Trade unions

Financial literacy

(Weighting of 40%)

  • 1. Savings
  • 2. Budgets
  • 3. Income and expenditure
  • 4. Accounting concepts
  • 5. Accounting cycle
  • 6. Source documents
  • 7. Financial management and keeping of records


(Weighting of 30%)

  • 1. Entrepreneurial skills and knowledge
  • 2. Businesses
  • 3. Factors of production
  • 4. Forms of ownership
  • 5. Sectors of the economy
  • 6. Levels and functions of management
  • 7. Functions of a business
  • 8. Business plan

Mathematical Literacy (Grade 10-12)

Weighting within the curriculum



(Weighting of 35%)

  • 1. Financial documents
  • 2. Tariff systems
  • 3. Income, expenditure, profit/loss,
  • 4. income-and-expenditure statements and budgets
  • 5. Cost price and selling price
  • 6. Break-even analysis
  • 7. Interest
  • 8. Banking, loans and investments banking
  • 9. Inflation
  • 10. Taxation
  • 11. Exchange rates

Accounting (Grade 10-12)

Weighting of curriculum


Financial Accounting (weighting 50% to 60%)

  • 1. Accounting concepts
  • 2. GAAP principles
  • 3. Bookkeeping
  • 4. Accounting equation
  • 5. Final accounts and financial statements
  • 6. Salaries and wages
  • 7. Value-Added Tax
  • 8. Reconciliations

Managerial Accounting (weighting 20% to 25%)

  • 1. Cost accounting
  • 2. Budgeting

Managing Resources (weighting 20% to 25%)

  • 1. Indigenous bookkeeping systems
  • 2. Fixed assets
  • 3. Inventory
  • 4. Ethics
  • 5. Internal control


The South African National Curriculum Statement (NCS), which includes all learning areas and subjects mentioned, was first partially introduced in 1998 as “Curriculum 2005”. It was revised in 2000 and fully introduced as the NCS in 2004. In 2010 the DBE undertook a review the NCS and the amended NCS and CAPS was phased into schools from 2012 and will complete in 2014. The FSBSA started implementing its consumer education strategy in 2002.

There is no specific body responsible for promoting financial education in schools. The FSBSA has attempted to play a coordinating role by engaging with industry bodies. Most institutions in the financial sector, however, implement their own financial education programmes, which leads to duplication in many instances. It is envisioned with the formulation of the National Consumer Financial Education Committee in 2011 that these efforts will become more structured thus largely eliminating duplications.


Evaluation of learning takes place through the normal assessment strategies of the Department of Basic Education, as stipulated in the NCS subjects. Assessment is thus not on financial literacy, but rather in the achievement of the learning outcomes of each learning area and subject.

Topics/issues covered

The following shows the amount of financial education per subject and learning area:

  • • Economic and Management Sciences - up to 100%.
  • • Mathematical Literacy - 35 %.
  • • Accounting - 25 %.
  • • Business and Economic sciences - 20 %.
  • • Consumer Studies - 10 %.

Thus, while financial literacy is not taught as a stand-alone subject or learning area, it is integrated into the daily curriculum and not as an add-on that could be discontinued at any time for financial or other reasons.

The FSBSA’s financial education is based on the following topics:

  • • Debt management.
  • • Savings.
  • • Budgeting.
  • • Credit.
  • • Caution against scams.
  • • Insurance.
  • • Retirement.
  • • Investments.
  • • Recourse.
  • • Rights and responsibilities.

Levels covered

All grades in schools (1-12).

Effective pedagogy

The NCS is delivered through an Outcome-based Education methodology, an approach that focuses on identifying desired outcomes and measuring success against these.

Teaching and learning resources

Teachers use textbooks and resources as prescribed by the education department for curriculum delivery. Alongside this, the FSBSA has attempted to provide a common framework by working with the Financial Services Sector to develop three booklets that provide the basis for financial consumer education. Themes therein include:

  • • Debt Management.
  • • Budgeting.
  • • Saving.
  • • Financial Risks.
  • • Insurance.
  • • Recourse.
  • • Rights and Responsibilities of consumers.

The resource materials are mostly in print format with CD-ROM support for schools with an ICT infrastructure. Each financial institution that provides financial literacy in schools, develops their own resources. The resources include:

• Three booklets, namely: Make the Most of Your Money, Use Your Money Wisely and Make Your Money Work for You. These booklets range from being very graphic to more textual in the third one to accommodate literacy levels.

  • • Managing Your Money - A booklet and two posters for teachers of Grade 10, 11 and 12 Mathematical literacy.
  • • Money in Action - a booklet and accompanying poster which covers grade 7-9 in South Africa.

Professional development

The Department of Basic Education is responsible for the professional development of teachers and this is done internally on a regular basis. The FSBSA makes all its resources available to teachers through workshops that demonstrate how to effectively use the resources in the classroom.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >