Tonight, I’ll be MC-ing the Grand Final of the Citi Financially Speaking Challenge – a programme which builds public speaking and financial literacy skills for 11-13 year olds in twenty schools across London.
Frankly, finance seems a much ‘hotter’ topic than just three short years ago.
“The end of the world as we know it??”
Headlines which have become all too familiar in recent years. If financial and economic realities play such a dominant role, you’d expect such topics to feature prominently in our national curriculum… wouldn’t you?
If ever there was a time to prioritise financial literacy among our young people, you’d expect that time to be now… wouldn’t you?
But I wonder whether enough is being done.
Mortgages… savings accounts… interest rates… household budgeting… the difference between a credit card and a debit card…
These are simple topics that play a central role in the financial planning of millions of households across Britain. But if you have a child, how prominently do these topics feature in his or her classroom education?
It’s a personal view, but I feel our education decision-makers should look at significantly increasing coverage of these important topics.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not blaming the schools. If anything, many teachers I talk to share a desire for finance to be given more airtime.
The Citi Financially Speaking Programme currently has the resources to benefit just twenty schools – out of 400+ across London alone. I only hope that in future, more young people find opportunities to pick up these vital skills.
As for tonight, speakers will have 2 and a half minutes to impress a judging panel which includes the likes of the BBC’s Evan Davis, Radha Chakraborty the Operations Director of Comic Relief as well as senior bankers from Citigroup itself.
And a fine job they’ll do. Bring it on!
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