The Money Advice Service (MAS) may have kickstarted work to coordinate delivery of personal finance education in schools, but recent developments have shown challenges remain.
Mounting levels of debt among the public, a failure to save enough for retirement and numerous mis-selling scandals – all challenges facing the financial services sector and all issues that could potentially have been tempered with better financial education.
The need for financial education in schools may have been talked about for many years, yet it is only recently that politicians have applied the pressure to make progress.
According to research by the Money Advice Service (MAS), the industry already invests about £25m a year in 36 programmes, mostly targeting under-18s, although they have lacked shared objectives, outcomes and key performance indicators.
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Tasked by parliament with taking care of the issue, it has now embarked on putting together a voluntary code of practice on financial education for the industry, to create an agreed framework for the delivery of the programmes.
What the MAS will not be doing, however, is providing the teacher training, as Gerald Lemos, chairman of the service, recently explained to MPs. “The financial services industry has quite strong views, which it has shared with us, that it thinks teacher training is not an obligation it should pay for, because it’s a job for the department of education. “What we will do is produce learning materials and teaching materials.”
Another issue that could throw a spanner in the works is the government’s plans for an overhaul of the education system, and specifically the rumoured scrapping of the national curriculum.
As campaigner Martin Lewis, founder of the Moneysavingexpert website, made clear appearing before the Treasury Select Committee sub-committee, making it a compulsory part of the curriculum is the only possible way of ensuring all students take part.
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