June 13, 2017
Suva, Fiji – Building a generation of young women and men with the essential financial knowledge, skills and confidence to be able to make responsible financial decisions is the focus of a new partnership initiated today at the University of the South Pacific (USP).
The Financial Education Curriculum Development Project is a partnership between USP and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) through the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) that primarily involves the integration and strengthening of financial education within short courses offered through the USP Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE) Campus in Suva, Fiji.
The project, which will run from June 2017 to 30 June 2019, was formalised by USP Acting Vice- Chancellor Professor Derrick Armstrong and PFIP’s Manager Mark Flaming today.
Professor Armstrong said that given that USP Pacific TAFE offers skills-based qualifications and short courses that are targeted at workforce development and training of individuals currently in or entering the workforce to equip them with practical vocational and life skills, the partnership was a natural fit.
“USP recognizes the importance of teaching our people the relevant skills and knowledge to manage their personal finances in today’s changing environment. We are excited to be working with the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme on introducing Financial Education within our short course programmes in Fiji by 2018,” he added.
PFIP Technical Specialist Abigail Chang said that financial education is essentially learning towards the development of personal financial competency. She added that national Financial Competency Surveys carried out with low-income households in four Pacific countries, demonstrate that Pacific Islanders struggle with personal money management.
“In the Pacific, adults within the world of work actively interact with money on a daily basis but have limited opportunities to develop skills and knowledge around personal money management. 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,” she said. “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”.
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, funded by the Australian Government also works toward the achievement of the regional instrument on financial inclusion – the Money Pacific Goals 2020, which was endorsed by the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) and South Pacific Central Bank Governors in 2009:
It is expected that from the 2018 school year, financial education will be offered within targeted USP short courses and that students of USP Pacific TAFE based in Fiji will benefit from personal money management and investment taught within existing courses, on an annual basis.
PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme that has helped 1.5 million low-income Pacific islanders gain access to financial services and financial education. It achieves these results by funding innovation with financial services and delivery channels, supporting policy and regulatory initiatives, and empowering consumers.
PFIP operates from the UNDP Pacific Office in Suva, Fiji and has offices in Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands. It is jointly administered by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and receives funding from the Australian Government, the European Union and the New Zealand Government.
About USP Pacific TAFE
The University of the South Pacific is the premier institution of higher learning for the Pacific region, uniquely placed in a region of extraordinary physical, social and economic diversity.
Established in 1968, USP is one of only two universities of its type in the world. It is jointly owned by the governments of 12 member countries: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Samoa. The University has campuses in all member countries.
Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE) is a strategically amalgamated and integrated learning and teaching section which offers high quality Skills Based Qualifications, Foundation and Preliminary studies. The programmes provide employment opportunities at entry and para professional levels, pathways for higher studies at USP where approved, and career advancement for working people.
Pacific TAFE has achieved various international accreditation and recognition of its qualifications.