Students keen to learn about money with Sorted in Schools
A government-backed financial education programme for secondary students now has half of New Zealand’s high schools signed up, with a number starting to teach teens about how to make money work for them.
And teachers using the resources report their students are enthusiastic to learn about topics ranging from savings and debt to insurance and KiwiSaver.
Sorted in Schools, produced by the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC), which runs the respected sorted.org website, has also just launched the first teaching package in te reo Māori for use in kura and Māori language classes. It is thought to be the first time a government-backed financial education programme for secondary students has been available in te reo.
Year 9-10 students can now learn about money as part five core subjects - English, Maths, Social Studies, Technology and Health/PE. Other topics included in the learning packages released so far include money management, goal-setting, investing and even planning for retirement.
So far 280 secondary schools, including nearly 50 kura and those with Māori immersion classes, have expressed interest in teaching the programme.
CFFC’s Director of Learning, Nick Thomson, says the aim of Sorted in Schools is to equip students for their financial future before they leave school.
“New Zealand students are growing up in a time where online shopping and banking are literally at their fingertips,” says Thomson. “Once they reach 18 they are targeted for credit cards and high-interest loans. We believe the sooner our youth become financially capable and good with their money, the better.”
CFFC research shows the age group from 16 to 24 is a danger period for young people to fall into debt that can hold them back, often through a lack of understanding of what they’re getting into through easy credit.
“Sorted in Schools aims to mitigate that risk by providing young people with knowledge and tools to help them make good financial decisions from the start of their financial journey,” says Thomson.
Students say they want to learn about money at school. In a CFFC survey, more than 80% said they wanted to learn financial capability as part of the curriculum, taught by their teachers.
Teachers who are incorporating the Sorted in Schools resources into their lessons report a high level of engagement among students.
Glenfield College social studies teacher Luke Gardner says his students are enthusiastic in learning how interest can grow their savings, what’s best to insure, and how to avoid high-cost debt.
“They’re making plans toward short, medium long term goals, understanding more about how to manage their money,” says Gardner.
The te reo programme, called Te whai hua – kia ora, has been designed to reflect the Te Ao principles of Māori education, which take a more holistic approach to enhance whānau and community wellbeing.
The CFFC head of the te reo programme, Marina Kawe-Peautolu, says it was considered key that the knowledge and tools accessible through Sorted in Schools were available to all students, whatever their educational setting.
“We want tauira Māori to have the same opportunities other students, so we developed this programme with that in mind. Our kids are digital natives so making a programme that’s relevant to how they learn, with a focus on te reo Māori, was important for us.”
Reg Iharaira Blake is a kaiako (teacher) at Te Kura Kaupapa o Te Kura Kokiri in Tauranga. He says the te reo programme is a valuable and worthwhile resource.
“It aims to change people’s attitudes around money and understand good financial habits,” says Iharaira Blake. “For our young people to be proficient in both worlds, they need to learn how to make the most out of money.”
Sorted in Schools resources and teacher guides are free through the website sortedinschools.org.nz. The programme is optional so CFFC is now liaising with schools to encourage them to use the material.
Learning packages for Years 11-13 are being developed to roll out over the next two years.