USP integrates financial education in short courses curriculum
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Professor Derrick Armstrong, USP Acting Vice- Chancellor and President (right) and PFIP’s Manager Mr Mark Flaming during the signing.
Building a generation of young women and men with the essential financial knowledge, skills and confidence to be able to make responsible financial decisions is the focus of a new partnership initiated on 13 June 2017 at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE).
The Financial Education Curriculum Development Project is a partnership between USP and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) through the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) that primarily involves the integration and strengthening of financial education within short courses offered through Pacific TAFE.
The project, which will run from June 2017 to 30 June 2019, was formalised by USP Acting Vice- Chancellor and President, Professor Derrick Armstrong and PFIP’s Manager, Mr Mark Flaming.
Professor Armstrong said that given USP Pacific TAFE offers skills-based qualifications and short courses that are targeted at workforce development and training of individuals currently in or entering the workforce to equip them with practical vocational and life skills, the partnership was a natural fit.
“USP recognises the importance of teaching our people the relevant skills and knowledge to manage their personal finances in today’s changing environment. We are excited to be working with the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme on introducing Financial Education within our short course programmes in Fiji by 2018,” Professor Armstrong said.
PFIP Technical Specialist, Ms Abigail Chang said that financial education is essentially learning towards the development of personal financial competency.
She added that national Financial Competency Surveys carried out with low-income households in four Pacific countries demonstrate that Pacific Islanders struggle with personal money management.
“In the Pacific, adults within the world of work actively interact with money on a daily basis but have limited opportunities to develop skills and knowledge around personal money management. This activity with the USP Pacific TAFE presents the opportunity to provide individuals entering or currently within the workforce with critical skills and knowledge enabling them to better take charge of their financial lives,” Ms Chang said.
Technical consultants funded by PFIP will develop the framework and resources for the teaching staff and students, pilot this over a period of six months and provide guidance to ensure strong and sustainable implementation at the end of the pilot.
The project, funded by the Australian Government also strives towards the achievement of the regional instrument on financial inclusion – the Money Pacific Goals 2020, which was endorsed by the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) and South Pacific Central Bank Governors in 2009:
All school children to receive financial education through core curricula.
All adults to have access to financial education;
Simple and transparent consumer protection to be in place; and
To halve the number of households without access to basic financial services.
It is expected that from the 2018 school year, financial education will be offered within targeted short courses and that students of Pacific TAFE based in Fiji will benefit from personal money management and investment taught within existing courses, on an annual basis.
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