In Malta, the small island-nation south of Sicily, two new programs introduced during European Money Week provide the latest evidence that financial literacy is a worldwide concern and that one is never too young to learn how to manage money.
Held each March, the program is a Europe-wide event sponsored by banks in multiple countries. This year, officials unveiled “Money Matters” for students ages 10 and 11, and “Be Wise – Pay Smart” for students ages 14 to 16.
Money Matters is an interactive program designed to help students acquire knowledge, skills and competencies needed to become financially responsible adults that are better able to make informed financial decisions. Games, debates, drama workshops and case studies are all part of the program, which also includes a session on banknote security to help students learn how to identify counterfeit money.
Be Wise – Pay Smart includes 90-minute sessions and filmed sketches illustrating wise use of an ATM and EPOS (electronic point of sale) terminal. It also features sketches showing different types of bank accounts, debit cards and credit cards. The idea is to generate discussion, followed by hands-on training as students carry out ATM and card transactions.
A “Financial Literacy Challenge” for 11- to 13-year-olds, pushes school-based teams to plan a campaign to promote awareness of financial literacy, education and inclusion. Cash prizes go to the winning schools, so long as they offer students some kind of financial literacy activity.
In another unusual Money Week program, home economics teachers were invited to a seminar on “Innovations in Financial Literacy Education,” which discusses how financial-literacy related topics could be incorporated into a home economics class.
In a speech at the conference, James Bonella, Secretary General of the Malta Bankers’ Association, stressed that financial education must begin at an early age, and that it would serve students throughout their lives and ultimately shape the nation’s culture for the better and promote its prosperity.