Our schools teach young kids how to climb ropes and how to dance, but until now, students have had to figure out how to manage their money on their own. Over the next few years, that’s finally going to change, as school systems across the country begin rolling out Canada’s first ever formal programs to boost the financial literacy of our students.
It all starts this fall, when the Ontario Ministry of Education will begin integrating financial literacy into the curriculum for students in grades 4 through 12. By adding units to existing subjects like math and family studies, students will learn concepts such as saving, spending, budgeting, credit, and taxes.
From all appearances, Ontario won’t be the only province teaching money skills for long. Manitoba hopes to roll out its own financial literacy material for students in kindergarten to grade 10 in 2012. Saskatchewan and B.C. are also looking at adding financial material to their courses.
One of the key items on the agenda is professional training, as many teachers don’t even feel comfortable managing their own finances. “Teachers never had financial literacy education themselves,” says Gary Rabbior, president of the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education, “so it’s no wonder they don’t necessarily feel capable.”