The partnership, the Financial Education Curriculum Development Project, is between the University of the South Pacific (USP) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) through the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP).
It was formalised by USP acting vice-chancellor Professor Derrick Armstrong and PFIP’s manager Mark Flaming.
A joint statement from USP and PFIP stated the partnership primarily involved the integration and strengthening of financial education within short courses offered through the USP Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE) Campus in Suva.
According to Professor Armstrong, the partnership was a natural fit as USP’s Pacific TAFE offered skills-based qualifications and short courses that were targeted at workforce development and training of individuals currently in or entering the workforce.
“USP recognises the importance of teaching our people the relevant skills and knowledge to manage their personal finances in today’s changing environment,” he said.
“We are excited to be working with the PFIP on introducing Financial Education within our short course programs in Fiji by 2018.”
PFIP technical specialist Abigail Chang, in the statement, highlighted that national financial competency surveys carried out with low-income households in four Pacific Island countries demonstrated that Pacific islanders struggled with personal money management.
“Earning income is just one aspect of money management – being able to plan for the future, save, invest, obtain credit and manage risk are all critical aspects contributing to having a secure financial life,” she said.
“This activity with the USP Pacific TAFE presents the opportunity to provide individuals entering or currently within the workforce with critical skills and knowledge enabling them to better take charge of their financial lives.”
Technical consultants funded by PFIP will develop the framework and resources for the teaching faculty and students, pilot this over a period of six months and provide guidance to ensure strong and sustainable implementation at the end of the pilot.
The project will run from June 2017 to June 30, 2019.