“I strongly recommend that financial education be made mandatory in schools! Why? Here’s the explanation from a British expert

“Financial education in schools is truly important and comes at a high cost. So, I really hope that this will be possible in the coming years. Young people, because they are young, even if they have learned financial education in schools, are starting to manage their own money for the first time.” This is the opinion of Shaun Mundy, the British expert who developed the first financial education strategy in Europe, in the United Kingdom. These statements were made during the “Make Sense of Money” podcast, on Thursday, November 23, 2023.

The expert discussed with the podcast host, journalist Liliana Barbăroșie, about how the crises of recent years have increased the importance of financial education worldwide, the prospects for developing a national financial education strategy in the Republic of Moldova, successful models, and lessons learned from similar processes in other countries.

“How was it in the United Kingdom? Well, the regulatory authority in the financial services sector where I worked was the leading institution in this process. Here, as you know, this role is taken on by the National Bank of Moldova. In fact, in most countries, the National Bank is usually the main institution. First and foremost, the presence of real commitment from the top leadership of the main organization is very important. I recently had a meeting with the governor of the National Bank of Moldova, and it is absolutely clear that he fully supports this initiative, it is even his personal initiative. This ensures a truly promising start. In addition, there is a team within the communication department of the National Bank of Moldova that is entirely dedicated to the development and implementation of the strategy.

In the United Kingdom, we worked with many other stakeholders, many other partners… We found that there are many organizations in government, the private sector, NGOs that would be willing to work with us. There are many initiatives that can be taken. If you try to do too much, resources will be wasted, and you end up not doing anything at all. So it is important to choose initiatives that will make the greatest difference in Moldova, that will have an impact on people, because there is no point in doing something if it will not influence people’s behavior. But also initiatives that will help us reach a substantial number of people, because if you only reach a few, that won’t make a difference either. So, in a way, Moldova is in the same position as the United Kingdom, as any other country that is starting to develop a national strategy on financial education. And I say this because in Moldova, there are already several initiatives, but they are usually small-scale, uncoordinated, scattered, not very strategic. So, now is the right time to develop a truly strategic vision that will select initiatives that will make the greatest difference, and where different organizations that want to support the development and implementation of the strategy can support it. To truly move forward and make a difference across the country,” said the British expert.

Also, during the podcast, the British expert explained why people need financial knowledge, how the transmission of this knowledge and skills ensures the sense of money, and how people’s well-being and the economy grow with it.

The podcast also includes a short question section, such as: What is the ideal age to start financial education in schools? How can people be protected from online fraud? What is the simplest risk analysis before accessing financial products? etc.

“…there are subjects where financial education can be incorporated. And I would strongly encourage this to be done in mandatory subjects, because if it is an optional subject, then some children will not receive any financial education, some will only receive part of financial education. So, I think this is one of the key things that children need to learn as they go through school, and it should be in the mandatory curriculum,” added Shaun Mundy.

For the most important news, subscribe to our TELEGRAM channel! Shaun Mundy is the expert advising the Republic of Moldova in the process of developing the National Financial Education Strategy. This is developed by the National Bank of Moldova with the support of the USAID Program “Institutional and Structural Reforms in Moldova (MISRA).” In October 2023, as part of the same project, the NBM launched an extensive financial education campaign in the Republic of Moldova.

The full interview can be watched below.


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