According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), financial literacy is defined as ‘A combination of awareness, knowledge, skill, attitude and behaviour necessary to make sound financial decisions and ultimately achieve individual financial well-being’.
For many years, individual financial institutions and many other organisations have delivered financial literacy programmes in schools ranging from short workshops to comprehensive curriculum, training and materials for teachers. Despite the many interventions, low levels of financial literacy persist amongst young people which manifest as high levels of debt. According to Bank Negara 47% of Malaysian youths have high credit card debt and 26% of Bankrupts are under 34 years old.
Thus, FINCO identified an opportunity to not just complement but go beyond existing financial literacy initiatives by developing a programme that can extend students’ learning, address the knowing-doing gap and promote healthy financial behaviours that may reduce long-term financial vulnerabilities.
With this in mind, with delivery partner Social Enterprise Academy (SEA), we developed ‘Good SENS’ – a Social Entrepreneur Network for Schools. This initiative uses Social Enterprise as a vehicle for increasing students’ financial literacy. This year-long initiative provides upper primary students with the opportunity to apply financial literacy concepts in real-life situations to deepen and increase engagement in learning. The programme aligns with the Ministry of Education Malaysia’s National Curriculum and National Strategy for Financial Literacy.