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Higher Profile For Financial Education In School

American Express Seeks Higher Profile For Financial Education In School Curriculum

Auckland, 10 September 2006 - Don’t forget financial education when looking at the school curriculum. That’s the call from global financial services and travel company American Express as the Government conducts a major curriculum review.

American Express New Zealand has confirmed a three year commitment to a schools-based financial education programme administered by the Enterprise New Zealand Trust. It is also putting its weight behind a move to give a higher profile to financial education within the formal curriculum.

Country Manager Stephen Powell said today that financial literacy should be recognized as a core competency for New Zealand youth.

“The children taught in schools today will create our future. It is common sense that if you are taught to understand money and how to manage it you will do better and avoid some of the pitfalls in life,” Mr Powell said.

“For New Zealand to continue to hold or enhance its place in the developed world we need to give our children tools not just to survive but to succeed.

“To that end, we believe financial education should be enshrined at some level in the curriculum and not treated as an ‘add-on’ or ‘nice to have’. If financial education gets ignored or passed over in the current review New Zealand will have missed a chance to establish a stronger platform for future success,” Mr Powell said.

American Express, through its international philanthropic programme, has committed to $80,000 over three years to support the financial education work of Enterprise New Zealand Trust.

Stephen Powell said that through such philanthropic activities worldwide, American Express strives to be a good citizen in the communities in which it does business and where its employees live and work.

“We recognise Enterprise New Zealand Trust as a leader in the way it works to help individuals learn what it takes to achieve financial stability and economic independence,” Mr Powell said, “and we are pleased to be an active supporter of its endeavours.”

Enterprise New Zealand Trust currently coordinates an ‘opt-in’ financial education programme that is utilized by 100 secondary schools around the country. It is also working with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to create unit standards that can provide National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) credits.

Caroline Steele, Enterprise New Zealand Trust Business Development Director, said: “the Ministry of Education has referred to financial literacy as a critical literacy in the draft curriculum recently released which provides schools with the opportunity to incorporate financial education as a significant theme, when designing their own school curriculum”.

On Monday American Express will join Enterprise New Zealand Trust supporters including representatives from the Securities Commission and the Reserve Bank at a forum in Wellington to coordinate a response to the draft curriculum.

“We will be making a detailed submission to try to ensure that this important area is not overlooked. Support from our partners such as American Express is greatly appreciated as we seek to raise this for discussion,” she said.


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