Investing in financial capability

In 2017, Cognition Education worked in partnership with the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC) to undertake an environmental scan of the provision of financial capability learning programmes, resources, and services to young people in New Zealand. The purpose of this scan was to ensure that investment decisions by CFFC in the area of financial capability for youth is informed by a robust understanding of the education sector.  

 

Cognition Consultant, Selena Hinchco, scanned the environment for quantity and quality, identifying resources, services and programmes currently available, and identifying gaps in provision.  

 

For the most part findings were pleasing, proving New Zealand has a solid number of free resources and programmes supporting financial literacy nation-wide. Whilst it’s great to see a large number and wide range of resources and programmes available for schools, these resources typically targeted those aged 15+. Many global studies have found that the earlier children start learning about financial capability, the better off they’ll be, improving not only their individual financial well-being, but societies as a whole.  

 

Today there are many rules are in place to ensure financial providers act transparently and provide clear and comprehensive information on their financial products and services. But the 2008 global financial crisis proved that whilst these rules are in place it doesn’t mean they’re always followed. If we have a society that lacks the financial literacy necessary to understand the true meaning of information they’re being told, the results can be catestrophic.  

 

The youth of today may be faced with making financial decisions generations before them never could’ve imagined, and this is due to the increasingly innovative financial products hitting the market. Cognition Education found that most of the resources currently available are not suitable for modern teaching approaches that are now commonplace in classrooms. It’s crucial that we create new interactive and digital resources, for both teachers and students, to use in the modern New Zealand classroom. 

 

While some resources and programmes are explicitly aligned to the Financial Capability Progressions, this alignment is often broad and tenuous. Many resources and programmes are not aligned to the Financial Capability Progressions. Schools are currently not required to include financial capability in their school curriculum, but this doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be. At Cognition we’re passionate about ensurung leaners are equipped to tackle challenges, that’s why we recommended the design and implementation of a campaign to drive Ministry of Education policy towards introducing financial capability to National Administration Guideline (NAG) 1.  

 

NAG 1 currently outlines how schools are expected to provide career education, preparing students for their transition to the workplace or further education. This is the perfect place to build in financial cpability!

 

Until the day financial capability is formally built into the national curriculum, schools will continue to rely on the resources available. However, conversations we had with some school leaders and teachers highlighted a need to support schools in understanding the ‘why and how’. Why should we include financial capability into our already crowded school curriculum? How do we use the resources and programmes effectively in our classrooms?  For this we recommended more support and resources for schools in designing school-wide inquiries focused on financial capability themes.