I have been promoting the introduction of financial education into the Global school curriculum as a mandatory subject for more than three years.
Poverty is sometimes caused by the inability to manage finances. We as parents wish the best education for our children, that education will not be complete unless we introduce financial education or financial literacy at an early age.
The same goes for the teaching of foreign languages; some schools still introduce foreign languages after primary school, when we know -the sooner the better.
One of the weaknesses of today’s children is Knowledge of basic math’s; it would appear that schools no longer stress the importance of learning the 2 to 12 times tables by heart-being able to recite them without any aid or prompting.
It would be very difficult for a child to achieve financial literacy without knowing the tables. Someone said to me once, you don’t need it, you have the calculator, but what if you hit the wrong button, it would be hard to discover that you made a mistake.
My policy for hiring any retail staff, is to get them to assume there is no electricity, the battery in the calculator is dead, and I wish to purchase a number of items; I then write down the items and the individual cost price, and ask them to prepare the bill; in my experience over the last 30 yeas of hiring staff, only 1 in every 4 were able to complete the exercise correctly.
Success in life today depends on the management of money, budgeting, savings, loans, credit cards. Some visionary leaders are advocating the introduction of, and some have already introduced financial education in schools
If we are to apply the same standards to financial literacy as we do to other educational subjects, then we should start this education in the primary schools-ages 5 to 11. This article will focus on this age group.
Finance is not the most exiting subject to teach, but a good teacher can make it fun. Early childhood does present wonderful opportunities to introduce the subject; When you take your children shopping, they will naturally get excited about food, sodas, perhaps clothes, but definitely toys.
Does these demands of the children relate to your job, your earnings, your household necessities, or your debt; how do you explain why you cannot afford to buy the item or items of choice. Are they aware of where the money comes from; or what it would it take to afford more purchases.
Involving your children in financial matters at an early age will serve them well in later adult life with their finances, particularly as parents. You do not have to get angry or hostile with the child, conduct yourself in a gentle and fun manner.
I remember when I was a kid, my grandfather operated a small rum and grocery shop, sometimes the kids would play shop, we would use the soda tops as money, different soda tops represented different values; A great opportunity was missed to introduce financial literacy, but there was some gain, as without the appropriate soda tops you could not afford to buy certain things. Maybe that is where my interest in business began; who knows.
Another children’s activity I can remember was pitching for marbles, the best pitcher always ended up with the most marbles, and was able to stay in the game longer, the pitcher would also sell some of his marbles for cashew nuts, which we all collected; growing up in those days, children hardly handled money.
Parents should look for, or create fun games, which involves finance. Play shop with a selection of items, some which involves choices; give a limited amount of money, so that the issue of affordability, and personal value comes into play.
Encourage a little entrepreneurship, doing special chores around the house for a stipend, helping a friend, or neighbors with the yard, setting up a mauby golden apple, or lemonade stands, this exercise will also enhance the ability to count.
Let the children experience shopping with cash, for small items, paying and receiving change.
A piggy bank as a birthday as a birthday gift, or as a gift on a special occasion is not a bad idea. The aim is to encourage saving at least 10% of any money earned or given.
Encourage the children to put away something for charity, let them make the choice what effort, child, or person in need to help. Save up until the funds for charity is respectable under the circumstances.
Sometimes the neighborhood watch may ask for help to clean up a park or street, or volunteer services that are appropriate for the children to organizations; Rotary, Interact, Scouts and Guides are examples to consider.
Education authorities across the Globe always seems to be the last to make changes; the formula has been the same for years and years. The same applies to financial literacy as a mandatory subject in all schools, starting from junior school. Canada seems to be taking the lead in this field and has introduced programs across the country, Kudos to the Canadians.
The time has come for a revolution in all areas of education, we need to make it more relevant to everyday life, and not just regurgitation of some useless information, outdated books, that may never be used in life after school or college. We need to get rid of outdated books that contain loads of misinformation; some children still believe Christopher Columbus discovered the West Indies, knowing nothing, or being taught nothing about his true history.
The topic of financial literacy for children is gaining momentum, but authorities around the globe are slow to take the plunge. If you are a parent, an educator, or education administrator, you should Google the topic in any of the below websites for more information.. Parents should be proactive and start lobbying their political leaders.
The globe and mail.com
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