We asked students to show off their journalistic skills and financial know-how by writing a 800-1,000 word blog or article. The 14-15 age category had to answer to the following question:
Is it right for primary school-aged children to be taught financial education in schools?
The entries were short-listed by our panel of experts, before being reviewed by journalist Iona Bain who determined the winners.
The winner for this age category is Ivan Hung, from Battle Abbey School, Battle, East Sussex.
Here’s what Iona had to say about Ivan's entry:
“This entry had bags of personality, with interesting references and appealing personal anecdotes. It clearly comes from a genuine enthusiasm for the topic, which is lovely to see. Yes, it has a slightly unconventional structure and could be a bit tighter, but ultimately I was won over by the writer’s willingness to take risks, look at the bigger picture and put forward a heartfelt appeal for financial education at an earlier age.”
Ivan Hung’s entry
“Well, in my opinion, I think it is absolutely crucial that children at this age get the knowledge of understanding how to use their money wisely; as the younger they learn, the more they are able to naturally adapt into real-life situations when they are older.
To start, the age the students are at in primary school are perfect to teach. The reason being is because the teachers will be able to come up with more innovations that are interactive for the children to understand finance; but at the same time in an enjoyable experience. However, with older students, they would prefer not to have ‘game-like’ exercises as they would find it too cringy to do! In addition, another benefit of children starting to learn finance early is because it helps them to build responsibility and independence with their possessions, so when it comes to them becoming teenagers, they are able to put their money skills into play straight away. Furthermore, it is known that ‘kids learn faster than adults because the prefrontal cortex of the brain is more developed in adults than children’ (according to EdLab TC). This means that children are more capable of developing their talents and knowledge when they are still young; which backs up the factor of it just being an advantage if children start at a younger age.
Moreover, I heard from my Aunty the other day that my younger cousin started to learn finance at the primary-aged level and he is now able to control his pocket money and use it wisely on the products that he really needs; which once again shows that starting young is always an optimistic way of driving appropriate use of using money! In fact (according to the Express News), we have over 100,000 people a year that are being declared bankrupt in the UK - these statistics show that some people have used their money irresponsibly because they didn’t have the opportunity to learn how to use their money tactically when they were younger. However, we can change all of this! All we have to do as a community is make every primary school in the country provide finance lessons to every child in the country; in order to reduce the amount of people going bankrupt every year.
To link, primary school children should also learn the world of finance at school because slowly the world is becoming a much harsher place to find a job due to technology. Discussing about jobs is totally related to this topic because some people unfortunately won’t have jobs that provide as high funds as others will - so having the financial knowledge is crucial in the society because they will be able to handle what they can spend and save much more effectively, which repeats back to the help of decreasing jobless and bankrupt people every year.
Also in my opinion, I think it has impacted on many people's lives, such as some of my friends. I studied brief topics on finance when I was in primary school and it has definitely influenced my friends and I to become a more organised and independent person on the whole just because of the ‘extra-curriculum’ subject!
Following on, in the future, some students and children will have to get student loans. Nonetheless, inflation isn’t waiting and the price at this rate are going to ‘skyrocket’ high, meaning if children start in primary school it could make a large impact on how they save up for their student loan as they are able to adapt the techniques that they learnt throughout their school life to them save themselves from falling in society and pay off their own student loan! Hopefully at this point, they are capable of using their finance skills and adapt it into real life situations, and we come back to the questions of: ‘where did all of these skills come from?’ Well, the answer would be: their primary school. This is why it is so crucial to have the solid foundations at a young age, so that they are able to prevent themselves from being jobless and bankrupt and are able to stand on their own two feet - in society.
Additionally, children at this age are usually still indecisive about what they want to do as their future occupation, meaning that it is quite easy to inspire them to learn finance and could potentially motivate them to go into the finance industry; meaning that it could help in the decrease in the amount of jobless people. Though this might seem unrelated to the topic of why primary school children should be taught finance, but if you think of the complete picture, this one topic is a crucial attribute into how the society could become because these are the future generations; which will one day replace the jobs of the current people in society.
Lastly, the finance course could potentially impact on the primary children because as they grow up, more assets start gradually creeping into their lives, such as: a larger social life, more responsibilities and etc, they will able to prioritize what they need first and generally just be a more organised person because finance is able to teach you how to handle your money - which will also affect your personality in an optimistic way.
To sum up, as you have seen from my gargantuan explanation, I could go on forever to say how crucial it is to start children young (from primary age) to learn finance, but just so you remember, I will say it again: everything they do in preparation in primary school will contribute to the larger picture when they grow up. Though, just think for a moment: could you imagine living in a world with everyone being bankrupt and an uncountable amount of people going into the business centre desperately looking for a job? Because I can’t. I believe if we keep striving for finance lessons at a young age, we will be living in a world fulfilled with optimism and joyfulness and stress-free! Wouldn’t you prefer that?”
Find out more about our Young Financial Journalist competition