The Institute of Financial Services (ifs) has attacked the government's strategy for introducing personal finance education into the curriculum.
The ifs says the Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) recent benchmark study of the state of personal finance education – which reveals less than a third of teachers feel confident providing personal finance education – shows the strategies, both present and proposed, are “piecemeal, unstructured and ad hoc”.
The survey suggests in more than 70% of schools personal finance education is in the form of ‘occasional lessons’, and the ifs says plans for introducing it into the curriculum from 2008 as part of a ‘functional maths’ lesson will not improve the situation.
It states: “The plan is that personal finance will form 10% of ‘functional maths’, which in turn will amount to approximately 50% of a GCSE. That means personal finance will form no more than seven and a half hours over two years.”
Furthermore, the ifs believes incorporating personal finance into ‘functional maths’ is a fundamentally flawed concept, as maths teachers generally teach maths concepts and not personal finance.
It adds: “The learning does not transfer. The fact that personal financial capability in the UK is in such an appalling state is clear evidence of that. Learning only takes place when it occurs in context and when it is properly structured.”
The ifs also attacks the survey itself, saying it does not spell out how it plans to measure the effectiveness of the current strategies or spend.
It states: “The ultimate test will be the ability of the students to apply the learning. How does the government and the FSA plan to measure this?”
Meanwhile, Ken Bannister, senior partner at Bannister Independent Financial Planners, says: “Financial planning like teaching takes many years to understand and this should not be burdened upon teachers.”
He suggests the existing IFA community could deliver education to schools as part of the curriculum, and schools should be provided with an annual budget to outsource the subject.
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 Emily Perryman on 020 7968 4554 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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