Issue 90, September 2010
Right on the money
More than 5,000 teachers and 400,000 students will benefit from a financial literacy programme spearheaded by NTU’s National Institute of Education.

School is the perfect place to learn how to budget and invest. In fact, lessons on financial planning could be infused into core subjects like Mathematics, English Language or Social Studies classes.

Instead of teaching percentages as formulas, why not get students to analyse restaurant bills and discounts in advertisements, suggests Dr Koh Noi Keng, the Chair of the Citi-NIE Financial Literacy Hub for Teachers. The Hub was launched on 31 October 2007 by the National Institute of Education and Citi Foundation to cultivate sound financial habits and decision-making by promoting financial literacy in schools.

Citi has contributed a million-dollar grant to the initiative and has pledged another S$750,000 over two years to take the teaching of managing one’s money a step further. The financial support received will double as the sum pledged attracts a matching government grant.

Under the latest initiative, trained teachers will be empowered to act as financial education ambassadors in their respective schools. Through coaching, special workshops and access to training resources, they will tutor their peers and start a financial literacy plan and curriculum in their schools.

The Citi-NIE Financial Literacy Hub for Teachers has already trained more than 2,000 teachers from 240 schools, who have, in turn, reached out to over 150,000 students. Over the next two years, 3,000 more teachers will be trained to incorporate financial concepts in their daily lessons. This will benefit another 250,000 students.

Financial literacy in everyday life
“What’s important is sustaining the virtuous cycle of teaching and learning so that we’re building capacities and ensuring sustainability and scalability of the mission,” said Dr Koh. “Having teachers drive the financial literacy efforts within their respective schools also promotes ownership and empowerment.” This creates a multiplier effect, she adds.

There are many ways to integrate financial planning into the curriculum. Even special enrichment or post-examination programmes, such as carnivals or camps, have a role to play. “Our financial literacy carnivals are fun and exciting platforms where students will run through an Amazing Race to different stations and compete in games related to financial education,” notes Dr Koh. Whichever platform is used, the ultimate goal is to cultivate a deep appreciation for financial literacy.

“We are happy to have such a strategic partnership and collaboration with Citi,” said Prof Lee Sing Kong, the Director of the National Institute of Education. “It is important to impart financial literacy to students as it is a lifelong skill which will allow them to make wise financial decisions throughout their lives, as students, adults and parents.”

© Corporate Communications Office and Citi-NIE Financial Literacy Hub for Teachers