Building a Future Generation of Financially Strong and Competent People

January 18, 2011

The next generation of children in Fiji will be equipped with skills to better handle spending, saving and investing money throughout their lives. This will be made possible through the Fiji Financial Education Curriculum Development (FinEd) Project which seeks to introduce financial education into both the primary and secondary school curriculum from class 1 to form 7.

“There are many families and communities who struggle financially and who do not have the knowledge, skills or confidence to make good choices and therefore cannot teach their children to make wise ones either. The management, use and handling of money is a life skill and where better to teach this, than in a dynamic learning environment – the classroom,” said the Minister for Education, Ambassador Filipe Bole when launching the project in Suva today.

He emphasized that financial literacy curriculum would be integrated in the existing school curriculum and would not result in additional classes.

“The teaching of financial education will not lead to longer classes or extra periods and it is not intended to replace the time allocated to other subjects, during the school day,” he added.

The project, conducted jointly by the Ministry of Education and the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) has received funding from AusAID, amounting to FJ$2.3 million. These funds will cater for the development of a curriculum framework, the preparation of resource and assessment materials, training of teachers and the initial roll-out of the curriculum in participating champion schools across the country. There will be a phased rollout of the project, starting next year.

Speaking at the launch, the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator and UN Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative Knut Ostby said that financial literacy had a role to play in alleviating poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“Embedding financial education within the school curriculum will mean that every year, a new set of school leaverswill leave being financially competent. It is envisaged that basic financial skills will become just as commonplace as literacy and numeracy. This surely augurs well for the future social, economic and national circumstances of Fiji.” said Mr Ostby.

Sarah Goulding, Counsellor Australian Aid Program, said that Australia had a long history of supporting education in Fiji and more recently had started to support initiatives that increase access to finance. This important work will promote access to financial education and further break down the barriers to economic participation by the poor. It is important to make financial education available to all students in Fiji to build up their competency and resilience in dealing with future financial hardships and opportunities.

“Through the Fiji Financial Education Curriculum Development Project we hope to provide local students, with the work of the Ministry of Education, teachers and schools across Fiji, at all levels of schooling, the opportunity to develop building blocks for life-long skills to better handle money, finances and develop businesses” said Ms Goulding.

The Fiji Financial Education Curriculum Development project is funded by the Australian Aid Programme and managed by PFIP in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Young Enterprise Trust (New Zealand) as the technical service provider. PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme helping provide sustainable financial services to low income households. It is funded by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), European Union, AusAID and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and operates from the UNDP Pacific Centre.