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DepEd, BSP push financial literacy lessons to students

Education01 081219
Shahril Azuar Jimin, chief executive officer of Maybank Foundation, gestures as he delivers his message at the launch of financial education and scholarship program of Maybank Foundation.

AMID reports on government’s ongoing crackdown against investment scams victimizing even highly educated Filipinos, the state’s education and banking arms have renewed their call for financial literacy to be taught to grade school children, especially now that various digital interventions are already available
to capture their interest to learn.

The rise of numerous illegal investment companies luring people to bet their hard-earned money for a whopping and oftentimes incredible return, according to the Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Diosdado M. San Antonio, could be attributed to the absence of a high level of financial literacy that leads victims and would be victims to make decisions that are not eventually sound in the end.

“So we have to start in grade schools in awakening our youngsters to the thought that one has to be financially literate to survive and succeed, and enjoy a happy life in the future,” he said at the launch of Maybank Group’s Cashville Kidz and scholarship program at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater at the  Bonifacio Global City in Taguig on Wednesday.

Considering that 45 percent of the Filipino population at present is between the zero to 19 age bracket, and growing at a rate of about 2 percent annually, instilling in them proper managing finances skills, which are seen helpful to them in the future, is encouraged at an early age.

“This generation will grow up to carry the responsibility of building a more productive, more progressive and more inclusive Philippines. Many of them will become leaders in industry, politics and business,” said the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier. “Now is the time to equip them with financial literacy, the set of knowledge and skills necessary for making wise financial decisions.”

Studies have shown that people who develop  sound financial habits at a young age are more likely to adhere to these throughout their lives, in contrast to those with low levels of financial literacy who are less likely to save, accumulate less wealth, incur more costly loans and transact in a high cost manner.

Poor financial decisions, likewise, have a long-lasting impact on their families and society as a whole. Low financial literacy was, in fact, considered as one of the factors that aggravated the global financial
crisis in 2008.

Such compelling data drove the BSP to beef up its advocacy for financial education (FinEd). Its partnership with the DepEd, for instance, aims to integrate FinEd in the K to 12 curriculum. They have also codeveloped learning tools, among which are 10 videos and 27 lesson plans, ready for use by 800,000 teachers for classroom instruction for about 24 million learners in 47,000 public schools.

“These tools are also being used for training the teachers and non-teaching personnel to hone their own financial management skills,” she said, while citing that their collaboration with the DepEd is anchored on the view that FinEd is a critical long term investment in human capital. “It can empower and equip young people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to take charge of their financial lives, and build a more secured future for themselves, their families, and the country as a whole.”

Apart from the globally recognized integration of FinEd in the basic education system within a formal curriculum, there are other efficient ways to inculcate and nurture sound financial behavior among future adults. Noteworthy of which are the interventions that leverage on the youth’s fondness for everything digital.

“Like their counterparts around the world, the Filipino youth are digital natives—adept at using technology in their daily routines. Even small children can easily navigate smartphones, notebooks, laptops and smart TVs to suit their needs. It makes sense that FinEd should also be aided by digital tools and learning processes. This is also quite necessary as the youth gets exposed to an increasingly complex ecosystem of digital financial services and providers,” Fonacier explained.

The BSP deputy governor pointed out the importance of support from the  private sector to help them fulfill their work as chair and secretariat also of the Financial Inclusion SteeringCommittee that is tasked to implement the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) under Executive Order 208, Series of 2015.

The NSFI, which includes financial education as a key pillar, has served as the platform for public-private partnership to promote shared objectives and create multiplier effects in both financial inclusion and FinEd.

 “Such a collaboration is critical because the FinEd challenge is great,” she said, referring to the result of their study that shows the lack of knowledge among people of legal age when it comes to
managing finances.

Based on the Financial Capability Survey conducted by the BSP with the World Bank in 2015, the majority of Filipino adults could only answer 3 out of 7 financial literacy questions. This means that most of them had difficulties in understanding compounding interest, the impact of inflation on prices, comparing bargains and risk diversification in investments.

The study, likewise, found out that only 2 percent of Filipino adults could answer all the seven questions correctly, while 10 percent had zero correct answers.

“So, evidently, adult Filipinos of today lack the specific knowledge required to make informed financial decisions. We hope to learn from our mistakes and change the situation for the Filipino youth as they go through the education system and receive FinEd interventions from multiple sources, such as the Cashville Kidz and other private-sector initiatives. We hope to see them make better financial decisions, become more empowered, and more financially healthy than the current generation of Filipinos,” Fonacier said.

Themed “Lighting up a Brighter Financial Future for the Next Generation of Youth in the Philippines,” Cashvville Kidz is Maybank’s program aimed at addressing the need for FinEd in local schools and is in line with the national agenda of the BSP in promoting financial literacy and inclusion among school-aged children. It shows a creative eight-episode animated cartoon series designed to teach elementary children the importance of money, in order to prepare them to meet future
financial challenges.

“The age of digitization presents many challenges for the future generation. One of them seem to be the lack of sound financial management skills. Through CashvilleKidz, we hope to strongly contribute in
educating young schoolchildren on the importance of money management habits in an exhilarating experience,” said Shahril Azuar Jimin, CEO of Maybank Foundation.

“The blend of digital tools with traditional classroom setting can make learning fun and, consequently. generate greater interest from students,” added Fonacier.

Following its successful run in Malaysia and Cambodia, this initiative, in partnership withMoneyTree Philippines, will be piloted in eight elementary schools in Metro Manila for school year 2019-2020. It targets 1,200 students from Grades 4 to 6 who will be under trained teachers.

“Like in all countries where Maybank operates, one of the key guiding principles for the bank is to grow with the community, advocating financial education as a tool to provide a holistic financial solution, in line with our mission of humanizing financial services,” said Maybank Philippines President and CEO Choong Wai Hong. “We are confident that the program will leave an indelible mark in the communities we serve in the country.”

Seeing the need to educate the young populace on financial literacy, the DepEd and BSP throw their support to Maybank’s Cashville Kidz initiative to ensure that Filipinos, as early as in grade school, are made aware of the relevant issues for them to come up with decisions that will really make them financially sound as adult citizens in the future.

 “We open our doors to more partnership with you so that we can expand the program as fast as we can because the age schools benefiting from this initiative will not be enough. We have more than 40,000 schools in the whole country. And if we want to create bigger ripples, we have to expand fast,” San
Antonio said.

“For this dream to become a reality, we count on everyone. So the private sector, financial institutions, educators, including Maybank’s first batch of scholars, to collectively influence and, of course, transform the financial future of every student through effective and sustained FinEd initiatives,” Fonacier added.

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