Fiji Ministry of Education takes up stewardship of Financial Education Programme

Aug 16, 2017

(L-R) UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Country Director and Head of Regional Policy and Programme, Bakhodir Burkhanov, Fiji Permanent Secretary for Education, Mr Iowane Tiko, Australia’s Acting High Commissioner to Fiji, Ms Amy Crago, and PFIP Deputy Programme Manager, Krishnan Narasimhan (Photo: UNDP/Erica Lee)

Suva, Fiji – Born out of a regional goal to increase financial competency in the Pacific, the Fiji Financial Education (FinEd) Project has been a global best practice for financial education in schools.

Full management of the award-winning FinEd project was handed over from the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) to Fiji’s Ministry of Education today.

The FinEd Project has been a six-year journey of strengthening personal money management skills of students in the Fiji school system thanks to the partnership of PFIP, the Reserve Bank of Fiji and the Ministry of Education and supported by the Australian Government.

Permanent Secretary for Education, Mr Iowane Tiko said the Ministry of Education was appreciative of the success the partnership has yielded for the FinED project.

“The Ministry is ready to take on the project and we are excited about what prospects lie ahead in terms of the impact that this programme will have on future school leavers. We have already encountered many testimonies that as a result of this project, young Fijians are more financially savvy and able to discipline themselves and plan for their future goals, providing them the tools for a bright future.”  

In handing over the project, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Country Director and Head of Pacific Regional Policy and Programme, Mr Bakhodir Burkhanov said that PFIP was proud to be associated with such a ground-breaking project, and that prior to PFIP’s involvement, financial competency in the Pacific region was low, with little focus on building financial competencies of low-income households.

“As a result of PFIP’s interventions, financial literacy has become a major policy driver for most Pacific Islands, with all national financial inclusion strategies including financial literacy targets.”

He added that PFIP was confident that, with the recent completion of the FinEd assessment tools – which will be tested nationally from 2018 – the Ministry is well-positioned to take on sole stewardship of the project and lead it to new heights.

Australia’s Acting High Commissioner to Fiji, Ms Amy Crago said that Australia was proud to be part of the FinEd journey.

“It is encouraging to read stories that, through FinEd, more students and their families are learning to save and invest for a sound financial future.  Financial Education may start in the classroom but it can certainly benefit the whole family. More and more students are taking the learning back to their homes and communities,” she said.

“Now, more than ever, we are seeing the importance of micro, small and medium enterprises across the world as important contributors to job creation and economic growth. And Fiji is no different, so it is a pleasure to see how initiatives such as FinEd can provide our youths with the necessary skills to embrace self-entrepreneurship.” she added.

Recognising the important complementary role of financial literacy to technical skills in preparing future business leaders and entrepreneurs, PFIP is currently engaged in pilot projects to incorporate financial education in technical and vocational courses in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. As a result of the successful FinEd Fiji project, Ministries of Education in Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have looked at introducing Financial Education within the curriculum.

Background on FinEd Fiji

In October 2009, South Pacific Central Bank Governors Meeting (Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia) endorsed the Money Pacific 2020 regional goals that had been formulated and agreed to earlier in August – September 2009 by Pacific Ministers for Finance and Education and made a commitment to lead action on building financial competency in their respective countries.

PFIP’s journey with the Fiji Financial Education project began in 2009 when the former Minister for Education, Ambassador Filipe Bole approached the United Nations (UN) following the Forum Education Ministers Meeting whereby the Samoa Enterprise Education project was presented.  Minister Bole envisaged a programme that would teach students in Fiji schools personal money management skills. 

In January 18, 2011, the Australian Government, Fiji’s Ministry of Education and PFIP launched the Fiji Financial Education (FinEd) project.  Financial Education has been placed as a curriculum perspective within the overarching National Curriculum Framework.  Subsequently, specific learning outcomes were introduced within syllabi for selected core subjects.

FinEd Fiji has been instrumental in nurturing behaviour change within the school curriculum from Year 1-12 for 205,000 students annually across 735 primary and 175 secondary schools nation-wide since 2013.

The FinEd curriculum was specially developed to facilitate behavioural change through educational games and activities in the classroom environment, with the aim of creating a generation of young women and men with the requisite financial knowledge, skills and confidence to be able to make responsible financial decisions which are appropriate to their circumstances, whilst both making a living in the modern money economy and contributing to community and national growth.

The FinEd project adopted exciting and innovative methods of teaching financial education, through educational games such as “Beware the Money Snakes” and “Time Saver”, very similar to snakes and ladders and monopoly board games, designed to teach students logical thinking and problem solving. By acquiring their own skills and recognizing their own values, students will learn to build and better their own financial understanding.

The project has won two international awards:

2013 Maya Declaration Award from the Alliance for Financial Inclusion

2016 Child Youth Finance International Award – Global Inclusion award

Currently under consideration for the Commonwealth Good Practices in Education Award in 2018.

Earlier this year, PFIP developed assessments tools to ensure that the students have grasped the concept of ‘save, spend wisely and invest’.  A pilot assessment took place in June covering 1400 students across selected year levels within a sample of primary and secondary schools. The results of the assessment tool have shown that students are generally well versed with the key concepts of financial education and are responding well to the curriculum.

From 2018, FinEd will be tested in all major national examinations in Fiji.

 

About PFIP

PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme that has helped over 1.6 million low-income Pacific islanders gain access to financial services and financial education. It achieves these results by funding innovation with financial services and delivery channels, supporting policy and regulatory initiatives, and empowering consumers.

PFIP operates from the UNDP Pacific Office in Suva, Fiji and has offices in Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands.  It is jointly administered by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and receives funding from the Australian Government, the European Union and the New Zealand Government.

Contact information

Erica Lee, PFIP Communications Associate, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji; tel: +679 3227538; email: erica.lee@undp.org; website: http://www.pfip.org

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