The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has called for immediate action for the design and implementation of a financial education programme for adults regarding long-term saving and retirement planning.
Based on new research conducted for the DWP, the government says there is no 'quick fix' solution to increase the financial capability of consuemrs in the UK and therefore believes efforts should be concentrated on instilling financial education in schools for children up to and including the age of 16.
The department says it aim of providing financial education in schools is supported by the education departments of all four UK constituent countries, while a host of non-governmental agencies, the financial services industry and the voluntary/community sector have pledged to work in unison to assist policy development and provide resources for the delivery of financial education programmes.
The DWP conducted its research through two intrinsic methodologies - a desk-based literature review and interviews with twenty key stakeholder organisations.
It says its research indicates feelings amongst stakeholders interviewed are divided over whether the subject should be compulsory.
Moreover, its take-up and effectiveness as a non-statutory subject, meaning individual schools can determine its provision, will depend on the staffing provisions afforded financial education, along with the confidence of teachers responsible for delivering it as a subject.
The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) has issued guidance to schools to support good practice in this area and is working in partnership with a range of organisations to support schools and teachers with financial education, with consideration to include financial capability more explicitly in the Mathematics curriculum, according to the DWP.
The government has identified four important audiences for post-age 16 financial education namely:
It says the content of financial education for the adult population will vary with audience and type of provision as little retirement savings education targets disadvantaged groups and those in post-compulsory education, while workplace provision tends to be tied to employer's remuneration schemes.
The DWP recommends an immediate design and instillation of major financial education programmes for UK adults, mapping out the education already available and developing an effective practice guide to delivery.
It adds: “For pre-16s, there is a need to strengthen the guidelines, framework and incentives for enhancing take up via Personal, Social and Health Education, and for seeking opportunities to embed the subject in curriculum subjects.”
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Gareth Vorster on 020 7968 4554 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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