Saturday 15 March 2008

Financial Literacy for High School Students

The Commonwealth Bank Foundation has put out some free curriculum resources for the teaching of financial literacy to high school students. The modules are available for free online:
Module 1: Earning an income
Module 2: Spending and saving
Module 3: Consumer decisions
Module 4: Consumer protection
Module 5: Buying a car
Module 6: Financial services
Module 7: Managing finances
Module 8: Consumer awareness
Module 9: Personal investment
Module 10:Planning and running a business
Module 11:Impact of technology
Module 12:Economics of everyday finance

The material is quite well developed with scripts, role-plays and discussion points to aid teaching the material to high school students. However, like many aspects of secondary education, it does aim at the "lowest common denominator". For example, the dangers of racking up credit card debts and only making minimum repayments are covered in detail, but there is no mention of using credit cards optimally IE. paying off the balance in full each month. There is also a slight socialist/environmentalist slant to the aspects of "why we pay tax", "ethical investing" and so on. And no practical lessons on legal tax minimisation - although there is a specific discussion question on whether investing in shares can save tax, there's only a mention of franking credits, and nothing about using investment debt to reduce taxable income and "convert" it into long-term capital gains which results in lower rates of taxation on wealth creation. Similarly, the discussions on superannuation seem to under emphasise the tax benefits of making additional employee contributions.

The Commonwealth Bank Foundation is also running some free one-day workshops on financial literacy for teachers. I may see if I can attend one of these workshops while I'm studying for my BTeach degree. If I start a new career as a secondary science/IT teacher in a few years time, having some training for teaching financial literacy may help me "win" a teaching position in a more desireable school.

Copyright Enough Wealth 2007


JW said...

Thanks for this information. My family and I can use it!

Anonymous said...

I'm suspicious. Some of the homework asks students to check out Commonwealth Bank products, especially their managed funds. said...

I'm not sure what there is to be suspicious of -- the material is clearly sponsored by the Commonwealth Bank.

I think the material is generally OK and not too biased to use for teaching purposes. I don't think using some of the sponsor's products as examples is unethical. (Unlike using classroom materials provided by fast food companies to teach food science!) Anyhow, the Commonwealth Bank already has a long-term (around 50 years I think) relationship with primary schools in that they provide "school banking" services where school kids open a passbook account with Commonwealth Bank and can make deposits via a weekly school banking day (where a volunteer collects the student's deposits and takes it to the local branch for processing). This is also obviously aimed at getting the students "conditioned" to banking with the Commonwealth, but it's not overly pushy.

Also, the material will end up being customised by individual teacher's and probably be used in conjunction with other free educational materials such as provided by Vanguard Australia.

The alternative would be for the curriculum material to be developed and provided by the education department. That would probably be completely devoid of any branded materials, but without using "real world" examples of products it would lose some of it's authority with the students. Plus the cost would be borne by taxpayers rather than Commonwealth Bank shareholders.

Finally, teaching the students to be critical when researching financial products, and the need to "shop around" and compare products is probably part of the teacher's job. I'd expect most teachers to get their students to do some investigation of various products via the internet as well.

Al Jones said...

How to Get Good Credit is holding an online video contest to raise awareness for financial literacy. Create a 30 or 60 second video that answers the question “How do I get good credit?” and highlights the benefits of obtaining good credit. Videos must not contain adult content such as nudity, profanity, drugs and alcohol. Videos must also be posted on You Tube, so that we may obtain embedding code to showcase your video. Videos will be viewer rated using a scale of 1-low to 5-high. A viewing schedule will be posted on the blog.

Contest begins and entries are accepted beginning April 1st thru April 30th 2008.

Each week new entries will be displayed on the blog at On May 1, 2008, the scores received will be counted and totaled. The video with the highest total rating number will win $200 cash.

Contact Alton J. Jones, How To Get Good Credit Expert, at with questions and notification that your video is available on You Tube.

Good luck.