Key actors in financial education and financial literacy
Financial education is currently not a compulsory part of the school curriculum in Ireland. This is despite many representations over the years to successive governments from various educational and banking sources that it should be – particularly at primary school level.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission – a merger of the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency – is a statutory body established by Government to enforce competition law, consumer law and promote consumer rights, doing so through a range of functions and responsibilities including financial education. It is responsible for the ‘Money Skills for Life’ project, a workplace financial education programme involving delivery of one-hour personal finance seminars in workplaces in the Republic of Ireland. In association with various banks, the project involves volunteer bankers who, following a special training, present the workplace education sessions. ‘Money Skills for Life’ namely covers: budgeting and managing your money; saving and investing; borrowing; insurance; pension as well as planning.
Banking & Payments Federation Ireland and members
Much of what is available in the education system today by way of financial education resources comes from the banking sector. Most leading banks have developed financial education initiatives or resources for primary and/or post-primary level, normally doing so in consultation with teachers and other educationalists. In the main these are designed to provide students with the following: money management skills, appreciation of the importance of saving and investing, independent thinking, understanding of banking and related financial matters, and capability for financial planning for the future.
As the representative body for the banking sector, Banking & Payments Federation Ireland is active in the financial education space through its longstanding relationship with the Business Studies Teachers’ Association of Ireland (BSTAI). BPFI in conjunction with the BSTAI has developed BusinessEducation.ie an online resource for teachers and students of Senior Cycle Business, Economics and Accounting. The site provides a number of learning resources for use by teachers and students in the classroom or at home. The content on the site is written and assessed by experienced teachers with the assistance of BPFI’s Economist.
In addition BPFI supports and hosts the BSTAI’s annual Business Studies Achievement Awards. These are given by the BSTAI to mark the outstanding achievement of the students who achieve first place in the State examinations in Accounting, Business, Economics at Senior Cycle and Business Studies in Junior Cycle.
In the past, BPFI provided a number of extensive education programmes to schools nationwide over a 10-year period from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s. Though not updated in recent years, elements of these programmes – Money-go-Round at primary level and Paymaster at post-primary level – are still in use in some schools…
Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI) encourages young people to remain in education and helps them to develop the skills they need to succeed in a changing world. Working in partnership with banks and other organisations, JAI provide a range of programmes for schools, with a particular focus on disadvantaged schools; these include financial literacy programmes which enable students to explore how to manage, protect and make the most of future salaries; and showcasing maths as a practical everyday requirement. JAI programmes also help to create a culture of enterprise within the education system.
While the primary role of the State-funded Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) is to provide an independent, information and support service for people in debt, MABS also seeks to provide money management education programmes that are tailored to suit specific groups of learners. Where capacity and resources permit, MABS Money Advisers deliver these programmes to groups in their local areas.
Example of good practice
Financial institutions in Ireland have developed an extensive range of schools based financial education initiatives and programmes which span across primary and post primary level. The breath of these resources, in addition to the way which they are developed and rolled out – in close partnership with teachers and educators – can be viewed by other EU Member States as good practice examples in this area.
Financial education part of curriculum? No
PISA financial literacy ranking (OECD, 2012): did not take part