Kids get cash savvy

Australia may be a nation addicted to debt, but a new program aims to ensure young people have the skills and knowledge to break the habit.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show Australians currently owe $50 million in credit card debt alone - a figure that equates to $2,200 for every person in the country. Young people are also in the red starting their adult life with an average study debt of $16,000, the ABS says.

MoneySmart Teaching

To begin to turn these statistics around and give young people a financial head start, an agreement has been signed between the State and Commonwealth Governments to trial a teaching resource called MoneySmart Teaching in Australian schools. Developed by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) it is part of the Commonwealth Government's $10 million Helping Our Kids Understand Finances initiative to improve financial literacy in schools.

"All students need to learn about money to participate effectively in the modern world. The MoneySmart resources are exciting and effective.

Since August, 10 NSW public primary schools have trialled the MoneySmart Teaching package in their school with secondary schools expected to receive the teaching resources in December.

Canley Vale, Tamworth South, Ashtonfield, North Rocks, St Ives Park, Carlton South, Darcy Road, Port Kembla, Queanbeyan West and Condong Public Schools are participating in the trial.

"We are excited to be facilitating the MoneySmart program at North Rocks PS. Educating students about money must be a priority if we are to prepare children properly for financial success and equip them with the values and attitudes to be responsible consumers in a digital world where credit is so readily available," said Tom Moth, MoneySmart facilitator North Rocks Public School.

"All students need to learn about money to participate effectively in the modern world. The MoneySmart resources are exciting and effective," agreed Sean McLoughlin, Money Smart facilitator Darcy Road Public.

MoneySmart schools

NSW MoneySmart project officer, Colleen Blancato said the project provided an opportunity for a significant number of teachers to undertake professional learning and to trial new financial literacy resources in their classrooms. The agreement includes the identification and participation of primary and secondary schools as 'MoneySmart schools'.

"MoneySmart teaches children the language of money; how to navigate the ever-changing consumer and financial landscape and where to go for assistance.

"Children learn about the rights and responsibilities of consumers in modern society and the wider impact of our everyday consumer and financial decisions; how to plan for our needs and wants, now and into the future, and to ultimately develop a range of enterprising behaviours," Ms Blancato said.

MoneySmart Teaching recognises that the most effective way to produce financially literate young people is to incorporate consumer and financial literacy education as a context for learning within the school curriculum.

"Rather than adding to a crowded curriculum, and expecting schools to introduce a 'new' curriculum focus, the MoneySmart teaching package provides teachers with professional learning and integrated units of work that match with the National Consumer and Financial Literacy Framework and address the outcomes and content of the Australian Curriculum and the new NSW Australian Curriculum syllabuses for English, Mathematics and Science," she said.

Authentic, real-life tasks provide the context for consumer and financial literacy education.



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