Fri | Dec 15, 2017

Financial literacy a must for Jamaicans

Published:Monday | February 7, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Rohan Barnett, executive director of the Financial Services Commission. - file

Lessons to be taught in schools to raise awareness, responsibility levels

In its thrust for a more financially literate society, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) is offering financial lessons in schools to educate students about their rights and responsibilities as consumers of financial services.

The financial education in schools programme, which is a partnership with Junior Achievement, was launched at the Wyndham Kingston hotel in New Kingston last Friday.

The first

phase of the programme will see 120 students from four schools participating over a five-week period.

Executive director of the Financial Services Commission Rohan Barnett said the FSC believes Jamaica urgently needs a national financial-literacy programme in order to elevate the financial capability levels of the average citizen.

"Implementation of a national financial-literacy programme in Jamaica will help to ensure that consumers of financial services are armed with the information, knowledge and skills to make sound financial decisions, and enhancing their ability to acquire wealth and maintain a suitable standard of living in retirement," Barnett said.

"A more financially literate population fosters sustainable and orderly economic growth and development for our country, this is because a more financially savvy population saves and invests more and are better able to understand and respond quickly to public policy changes," he added.

Bankers' Association president Minna Israel com-mended the FSC for reinforcing the need for society to become more educated on the critical area of financial literacy.

Prudent management

"The outcome of financial decisions have significant implications for an individual's financial security and standard of living. A person with a good command of financial literacy is better poised than someone who is less exposed to the discipline, to manage financial affairs in a prudent manner," she argued.

She added that poor financial choices are sometimes based on a lack of understanding of financial matters, and this can result in a number of negative outcomes, including a lower level of financial wealth and imprudent debt levels.

Israel said the ability to make well-informed financial decisions plays an important part in the ability of individuals to manage financial affairs well, a factor that can have either a negative or positive effect on the economy.

"The multiplier effect of programmes such as these, if delivered not only to the entire school population of Jamaica, but also to community groups and the business sector is phenomenal," she charged.

Isreal said her association is committed to being an active player in the process of increasing financial literacy among the Jamaican population.

Students in grades nine to 11 from Ardenne High, Black River High, Tacius Golding High and St Jago High schools will take part in the pilot programme, which is designed to impart principles of saving and investing, and to educate students on the basic knowledge of financial instruments.