UAE schools teach financial wellness to students


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Alamy photo

Dubai - Idea for the programme was to make stmake smart decisions that impact money matters.

By Nandini Sircar

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Published: Fri 30 Jul 2021, 3:36 PM

Some schools in the UAE have started teaching their grades XI and XII students about financial wellness and management, a topic that is particularly relevant during the pandemic.

The idea for the week-long, web-based programme was to equip students with an aptitude for finance and accounting to gain the ability to think strategically, and the confidence to make smart decisions that impact money matters.

As part of the programme around 10 schools collaborated with an organisation providing financial literacy to children and a UAE bank that has been forthcoming about this initiative, providing literature and customised learning modules to institutions that can be useful for young adults.

Beena Raju, Head of Commerce Department, Dubai Gem Private School, opined: “The practical tips provided, simulations and the highly engaging sessions will help our students to be financially prudent in real life, especially in managing their personal finance. Students have gained much and have expressed their confidence in applying what they have learned even to their monthly family budget, after the completion of this programme.”

Vanessa Inocencio of St. Mary's School said: “Through this programme I was able to calculate that a possible return on investment (ROI) could be quite significant. I am glad to be able to learn how to be smarter with the way I spend my savings. This programme was surprisingly fun. I would highly recommend it to my peers because I truly believe that it would genuinely help as we grow up and start earning and managing our own finances.”

Another student, Bhargav Nilesh Thanki said: “This was an enjoyable experience for me. Initially, I thought it would be boring but it turned out to be a great learning experience. Now that I have attended the programme, I will know more about how to budget and manage my finances and how to use a credit and debit card and not fall prey to marketing tactics.”

Some of the institutions who participated include Dubai Gem Private School, The Elite English School, St. Mary’s Catholic High School, GEMS Modern Academy, GEMS New Millennium School, Middlesex University Dubai and The British University in Dubai, who enrolled for the programme conducted by Kids Finance Initiative (KFI) and Emirates NBD Bank.

Topics like money mindsets, needs vs wants, money management styles, budgeting, compound interest and common money mistakes were part of the syllabus.

Marilyn L Pinto, Founder, Kids Finance Initiative said: “As someone who has been championing the cause of financial education for the last five years, I am delighted to be part of this ground-breaking initiative. This curriculum does not just focus on financial knowledge but also on financial behaviour and attitude. The confluence of different aspects makes it really powerful. The students learn how each concept relates to their life, and how they can implement their learning. The dynamic and engaging sessions and personal familiarity of the live coaching classes not only help kids learn faster and remember better but also motivates them to engage in deep learning that builds their financial awareness.”

In all, ten UAE schools participated in the first edition of the programme that targeted nearly 300 students.

Suvo Sarkar, Senior Executive Vice President and Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Emirates NBD, opined: “Adopting good financial habits at an early age is among the building blocks of long-term financial wellness.”

He added, “Our comprehensive programme has been designed to create impactful behavioural change among young adults via skilled educators and tried and tested learning tools. We look forward to continuing to invest in programmes that will contribute to the financial wellness of the UAE’s citizens and residents.”

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