July 30, 2018
Honiara, Fiji – “Financial Education may start in the classroom, but it has the potential to benefit whole families”, Erik Scholte, Second Secretary at the Australian High Commission, said this while closing a week-long training for 36 teachers from three Rural Training Centres (RTC) of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACoM) who had completed the final round of financial education (FinEd) training last Saturday in Honiara.
Mr Scholte said the the Australian Government was proud to help empower Solomon Islands’ youth by building essential financial knowledge, skills, and confidence in making responsible financial decisions.
He commended the efforts of the teachers who would henceforth champion FinEd in their respective centres. He said these lessons would contribute to developing entrepreneurial skills, changing mindsets and will, in time, have a direct impact on families and communities as seen in other Pacific Island Countries where the same FinEd programme has been implemented.
The teachers were part of a pilot FinEd programme in Solomon Islands funded by the Australian Government through the United Nation’s Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme. The programme has embedded Financial Education into the curriculum of select trade courses at three Technical and Vocational Education Training centres run by the ACoM.
PFIP Financial Inclusion Specialist Isaac Holly said PFIP was impressed at the progress of the programme in Solomon Islands. He acknowledged the support of the ACoM Management and Diocese, the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and the Central Bank of Solomon Islands in ensuring that the programme was a success.
Mr Holly said that by teaching the courses, the teachers are helping to work towards achievement of the Solomon Islands Government’s national priorities for improving financial literacy in the country.
“Your work at the rural training centres as part of this pilot, feeds back to and informs national strategy on financial inclusion. You may think at the school level that what you are doing is only at your school level, but be assured that this work is considered, measured and appreciated at national level,” he said.
Following the training, the second phase of classroom implementation will begin. Teachers will monitor student interactions and record assessment outcomes. After the completion of these modules, the programme will be assessed and is considered to be implemented across all ACoM RTCs.
Financial Education and Financial Literacy are joint national priority areas identified within the Solomon Islands National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2016 – 2020. The strategy has set priorities to build financial resilience in households and communities by integrating basic financial education into the core school curriculum, from primary to tertiary levels, and the development of a rural financial literacy module focused on creating awareness on financial services to improve usage.
The FinEd Project is a result of findings of PFIP’s 2012 Financial Competency of Low Income Households study that found most low-income households in the Solomon Islands are unable to manage money effectively. The project also works toward the achievement of the 2020 Money Pacific Goals endorsed by Solomon Islands during the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting in 2009 and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion Maya Declaration Commitments made in 2013.
The regional FinEd project has also been implemented in Fiji and Papua New Guinea. It is envisaged that the ACOM FinEd pilot will be completed in December 2018 with lessons learnt to share in preparation for potential scaling up.
PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme that has helped 1.98 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.