BusinessDay

Nigeria lags US on financial literacy in secondary school

This year, one in four secondary school students in the US will graduate with a good grasp of personal finance. The subject was introduced into the curriculum in 2018, a year after Nigeria developed a similar plan that is yet to start.

“Today, 22.7 percent of high school students in the U.S have guaranteed access to personal finance courses. This means that nearly 1 in 4 students will take the personal finance course before they graduate this year,” according to a 2022 report, Next Gen personal finance(NGPF) 2022 state of personal finance report, a non-profit organization.

In 2017, the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with other financial institutions moved to develop Teachers’ Guides for the teaching of Financial Education Curriculum (FEC) at the basic and senior secondary education levels.

A year after it was implemented in Nigeria, America recorded that 16.4 percent of high school students in the country were required to take a personal finance class.

A lot of adults struggle with their finances because they lack financial knowledge and it’s why personal finance should be taught in school like every other subject in Nigeria.

Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad said “Money is one form of power. but what is more powerful is financial education. Money comes and goes, but if you have the education about how money works, you gain power over it and begin to create wealth.”

Personal finance should be taught at home and in school from childhood to teenage years, a continuous process with age-appropriate topics.

Early financial literacy would inform kids on the value of money, how to make money, savings, investment, budgeting, etc. It gives them the advantage of building a more stable future.

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The OECD, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development 2005, recommended financial education begin as soon as possible and be taught in schools. Incorporating financial education into the school curriculum is a good idea. A policy tool that is both fair and efficient.

Young people must learn how to make wise financial decisions before, not after, they face life-changing decisions. The following are benefits of having personal finance in school curriculums we can learn from Americans:

Smarter money decisions

Financial literacy helps children make better money decisions, which include borrowing, spending, budgeting and investment. They are less likely to fall into the debt cycle than their uneducated peers.

In a research conducted by Christiana Stoddard and Carly Urban for the National Endowment for Financial Education, it was said that students that took personal finance classes in high school were more likely to move from expensive to inexpensive financing.

Personal finance courses allowed students to be more open to aid applications and acceptance of federal loans rather than taking credit card balances while not affecting their choice of school or college attendance.

Facilitates Quality Future

When children are taught about finance, it gives them a good hedge against future occurrences that a lot of adults go into just winging it. A lot of benefits that come with it are good credit scores that position one for good jobs, credit cards, buying homes and cars. Good credit scores prevent them from paying crazy interest on loans.

“Students develop better credit behaviours in early adulthood in states where personal finance is a formal course,” said Michael Collins, co-author of the Finra report in an interview with CNBC.

“Young people more often struggle to pay bills and manage money, but students exposed to personal finance, on the other hand, are more likely to make on-time payments and keep up with their bills, and they understand how to manage those responsibilities better than students who were not in school,” he said.

Economic Benefits

Any economy will thrive when there are more jobs, more money, and less debt in a country.

Annamaria Lusardi, Professor of Economics George Washington, at the examining the economic importance of financial literacy education for student congress 2013, said that

“A cornerstone of economic theory holds that where there are well-informed consumers, there will be vigorous competition and efficient markets. In other words, financial literacy is not only beneficial to Americans because it allows them to fully participate in society; it is also necessary for business, the economy, the country, and, in this day and age, the world.”

Equality

Financial literacy in schools gives equal opportunity to all gender and every race to financial literacy at a very young age.

It closes the racial wealth gap amongst students which is fueled by a lack of information in poorer communities. America has used it as a way to breach the gap between different races by creating this program in schools. The acquisition of financial knowledge and heightened financial acumen gives confidence to every race.

Nigeria can learn from this to close the wealth gap among gender and different tribes.