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Financial education is building steam, thanks to the Association of Serbian Banks
Association of Serbian Banks and its member banks
Since 2013 the Association of Serbian Banks (ASB) has enriched its business orientation with the introduction of financial education policy, particularly focusing on youth and children. The main mission of the ASB in this project is to monitor and actively participate in the relevant international initiatives, thereby transferring and exchanging experiences at the national level, and supporting the banks’ efforts aimed at improving the financial responsibility of citizens, especially youth and children. In addition to gaining membership in the Child and Youth Finance International – CYFI and signing the Memorandum of Understanding with the UNICEF Serbia in the field of financial education and social responsibility, the ASB has also become a member of the EBTN Working Committee for Financial Literacy – FINLICO, alongside the representatives of the banking associations and/or banking institutes from Greece, Finland, Spain and Great Britain. Also, ASB is a member of the Project Group for Financial Education – PGFE of the EBF. All these countries have rich and versatile experiences in financial education programs, which will be combined with a view to their mutual exchange and achievement of results.
Some Banking Association members have a number of financial education programmes, targeted to children and adults, specific target groups or specific products or innovation. Those programs and approaches they developed and implemented by themselves.
Example of Good Practices and new Initiatives
In order to implement the best international practice within the national framework in the best possible way, the banking sector (ASB together with the banks) formed the Working Group for Financial Education and Literacy established as an initiative of the ASB Education and Human Resources Committee. This Working Group has been engaged in the preparations of the program of activities to mark the European and Global Money Week 2016, and the intention is to preserve the continuity of preparing similar recommendations in the course of the year as well. Thus, in the future, the ASB will together with the banks organize occasional workshops for adults, youth and children, both on the ASB premises and on the premises of elementary schools, high schools and universities, but it will also be working on other, more complex types of projects. Also, the Working group will be open for private and public bodies actively involved in the promotion and implementation of financial education programmes and initiatives in Serbia with the aim of promoting national co-ordination between stakeholders, and in order to facilitate the sharing of experiences and rationalize resources.
Consumers’ associations do offer financial education programs by themselves only on ad-hoc basis. Also, Junior Achievement Program is active in Serbia and although mostly in the field of entrepreneurship among youth, there are some programs on financial education.
Due to the lack of a national strategy on financial education, financial education programmes that exist do not have a common path in terms of objectives, schemes and evaluation forms. Each body or institution can choose and adopt contents, tools, methodology, evaluation etc.
The Role of Central Bank
The National Bank of Serbia (NBS) is very active in the field of the financial education for more than 10 years. NBS activities are based on its Strategy for Financial Education – 5 years plan of the NBS activities on the national level on delivering serial of workshops, round tables, and other events and forms of education.
Financial education of the NBS is structured through two departments and parallel processes:
Through its educational programmes, exhibitions, lectures, discussions, creative workshops and participation in social events, the National Bank of Serbia presents its activities to the public in an interactive way, highlighting the significance of financial education of the public of all ages and the importance of our cultural heritage. As part of financial education programmes, several initiatives were launched to promote savings by children, help recognize counterfeits, analyse the role and significance of the central bank, as well as to learn more about the concept of money and its different aspects. The financial education seminar for primary and secondary school teachers, as key mediators in the teaching process, has been approved by the Ministry of Education and included in the programme of compulsory professional training for teachers.
In cooperation with the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia, an initiative was launched to include the financial education programme in the official curriculum of primary and secondary schools.
The NBS has a website dedicated to the financial literacy Tvoj novac (Your money) http://www.tvojnovac.nbs.rs/latinica/.
The NBS has received the Country Award of Child and Youth Financial International for an outstanding contribution and its visionary and innovative approach to the development of youth financial education in Serbia. The award was given to NBS representatives at the first Child and Youth Finance International Summit, held in Amsterdam on 3–4 April 2012. NBS is also active member of the OECD INFE network.