This project is undertaken to envisage the main “converter” in financial education at school: teachers. Additionally, the project wants to support school managers in their ability to enhance financial education at school and represent the aim to all relevant stakeholders. The specific need of this project concerns financial literacy of pupils, attending grammar schools (age level 10 to 18) in the participating countries. Financial contents are mostly not taught at this certain type of school. Thus, grammar school graduates often suffer from a lack of economic and especially financial literacy, whereas pupils of business oriented schools are a bit better of.
Financial literacy can be defined as “… ability to understand money matters, to manage credit and debt and to make sound financial decisions”. (www.financial-literacy.eu)
Everyone is exposed to financial relating risks and problems in everyday life. Therefore a financial illiterate person is disadvantaged opposed to a financial literate person, especially as a consumer to a financial literate contracting party. The problem is urgent, as the situation worsens without proper countermeasures. Especially in times of financial turmoil and economic instability, everybody should at least know a little about financial topics. The importance of financial literacy is quite evident especially against the background of one of the reasons of the Subprime Crisis (culmination in 2008) and currently in the €-crisis. Further, the policy of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the European Central Bank (ECB) and other national banks in the field of financial education show, that the main topic of this project is one of high interest.
To realize a higher efficiency of financial education in schools we want to address the key players (teachers and school managers) by offering a fast and cheap method, including always state-of-the–art teaching materials. At the same time we want to circumnavigate the necessity to change curricula because of the above mentioned difficulties. The starting point of our project is to reflect what standard of financial competence school education should provide by the time pupils finish a grammar school. The challenge is to pave the way for financial literacy, that normally encompasses economic literacy, on existing curricula and thus to improve future prospects of pupils and with it of the society in general. As already mentioned, the project addresses the main “converter” and at the same time the current main barrier in financial education at school: the willingness and ability of teachers:
- Teachers of grammar schools usually directly start their teaching career after passing university degree and probably an internship at school. They haven’t gathered practical working experience.
- The curricula for grammar schools don’t include a certain subject e.g. “financial education”.
- The curricula don’t allocate specific financial contents to specific subjects and age groups. Generally speaking: explicit financial contents are missing in the curricula.
Thus, the way to improve financial literacy necessarily involves preparing teachers to take efficient measures. Additionally, the project wants to support school managers in their ability to enhance financial education at school and to represent the aim to all relevant stakeholders. As neither teachers nor school managers of grammar schools are in this working field so far, appropriate teaching and school management master strategies have to be developed. Hereby we refer to former EU-project outcomes (e.g. European Database for Financial Education (EDFE) and the current activities of the above mentioned institution, e.g. ECB. In addition, the project is in context with current activities of the OECD (e.g. International Gateway for Financial Education (IGFE). Thus, this project can serve as a “catalyst” to the already existing initiatives.
The setup of the projects’ consortium adds synergy potential of internationality: All academic partners display great expertise in teaching and research of finance. Additionally, FHJ hosts the Department of Innovative Learning Scenarios, which is specialised on modern didactic methods and technical e-learning developments. All school partners are very interested in the financial education working field and are ready to bring in their experiences. Thus, the development of a coherent system of imparting financial literacy is possible. Further, stakeholders with special interest in fostering financial literacy will cooperate independently.