By Sanni Sheu-Ahmad
The last week of March marks Global Money Week; A global event which involve series of activities meant to introduce children and young adult to the mastery of money called Economic citizenship Education. The objective of ECE or Financial literacy is to groom a financially intelligent generation who early in life would master the art of making money justly, spending rightly, saving correctly, investing wisely and to be open to all borrowing/ capital pooling option obtainable.
Our society is yet live to billing in this regard neither in our formal nor informal education system. There are still widely held misconception about money that are even given scriptural backings. A lot of dangerous myths still surround wealth and financial freedom and there is the unhealthy taste for ostentation among young adults that are teaching themselves their own version of financial literacy influenced by their onscreen idols. Therefore, we are in a desperate need of thorough financial education for our children.
We would have to start as early as middle basic classes as agreed in our national education policy that the goal of basic education would be to “ provide the child with diverse basic knowledge and skills for entrepreneurship and wealth generation” such that no graduate of our basic education would not be equipped enough to be self-reliant. Trade, Technical and vocational skills must go beyond passing the exams or series of hollow demonstrations. Schemes should be created to encourage the mastery and to inspire entrepreneurial drive. We would need to assess our teacher training in technical colleges of education and assimilate all their competent graduate in this mission. We would need to revive all moribund ‘’intro-tech’’ workshops, home economics centre and the skill centres of yore, not forgetting to equip all the children with digital skills needed to survive in the information age.
Basically there are five crux of financial education which are:
In learning to earn we must show children how to create livelihood, see dignity in labour and to position themselves for opportunities. Our curriculum content should be taught in such a way that would enable the student build soft skills needed for ‘work of the future’. Skills like collaboration, creative thinking, problem solving and creativity. We must provide opportunity for schoolchildren to master skills they have learnt using redefined apprenticeship, internship, allowance for holiday jobs, summer bootcamps and conscious mentoring in family business.
The school system should be adapted to teaching children how to improve the predominant economic activity of their Immediate surrounding. For example Tourism and Hospitality, Agricultural technology and extension, animal husbandry, Energy conversion would suit different terrain based on their physical geography therefore children who grow up there can be made to see the wealth in their immediate environment and not be schooled with hope of getting onto government payroll or seeking white collar jobs in supposed greener pastures.
Children regardless of their socio economic background must be introduced early to the idea of Budget and to prioritize what to spend on at any instance. To be conscious that resources; in real life are actually limited and to be made to differentiate needs from wants. Adolescents should be conscious of how their personal financial life and socioeconomic activities affect the national economy. We should pique their interest in following public finance and institute programs that create hypothetical scenario of how they would perform if they were in charge of those macroeconomic decisions.
Finally, we should build them to withstand the forces of external pressure that lead to making irrational spending decisions. Train them to identify and resist the charm of advertising and fads that create a harmful consumption culture.
We must teach financial literacy in ways that would open the next generation of business moguls to the idea of social entrepreneurship as an alternative to brazen capitalism. We must teach them this new form of entrepreneurship that places human lives, people’s welfare and the protection of our planet over the drive to maximize profit at all cost.
We must teach them practically what it means to balance the books, run prototype companies, think through digital start ups and even compete business acumen among themselves on platforms like the one offered by Junior Achievement Nigeria and similar organisations. Young adults should be made to be conscious of international trade relations and how it affects people in this country.
Financial institutions and State financial actors must contribute their quota in exposing young people to all the financial services available obtainable in keeping and growing money. Their ‘Pet business’ should explore the idea of interest rates and the options offered in non interest banking, parents as well should expose their children to the workings of the native thrift systems and running cooperative societies.
Young adults should be taught how to communicate their business ideas to get support and funding, to pool capital and to leverage social networks and community resources.
There should be schemes that would be targeted at supplying children led businesses with seed capital, inputs, hire purchases, organizing their stocks sale and insuring their businesses.
All these might seem far-fetched. Truly it is a tall order therefore we are starting with the awareness with this year’s Financial Literacy Day themed: Take care of yourself, Take care of your money.
Sanni Sheu-Ahmad is a quality education advocate, an Edtech expert and Lead Consultant at Dotted & Kruxd Educational Consult. He can be reached at email@example.com