Financial Literacy Community of Practice Meeting 28 March 2014

The Financial Literacy Community of Practice meeting is a discussion forum that aims to strengthen the links between people working on financial literacy issues. On 28 March 2014, the meeting centred on an evaluation of the Start Smart program, a Commonwealth Bank initiative to increase financial literacy among Australian students. Wendy Mason, head of the Commonwealth Bank Foundation, presented via video conference from Sydney.

Start Smart is a face-to-face financial literacy program that aims to raise awareness of financial matters among young people, and encourage them to save money. The program runs by way of workshops presented to primary and secondary school students – and even some TAFE students – around Australia. Teachers are encouraged to continue to teach students about money matters after the workshop.

Feedback indicates that the program boosts the financial knowledge, attitudes and confidence levels of students around Australia. A review of the program identified some key insights:

  • CBA have to be proactive in responding to the interests of teachers and principals, and design the program so that it is easy to adopt.
  • It is important that facilitators present content that is personal and meaningful for long term benefits.

Lessons for CCLSWA

As part of its service, CCLSWA provides community legal education to high school students to promote awareness of credit and debt issues. CCLSWA will endeavour to focus education on contemporary issues e.g. risks of signing contracts for online purchases, and the importance of keeping track of telco bills.

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Michael Duncan