Financial literacy doesn’t find a place in school curriculums; parents teach their children the basic concepts on their own.
Gauri Gupta, an M.Sc. student who had studied economics in school, shared: “What we studied was just from the examination point of view. There were some big topics regarding the economy of the nation, but I didn’t find anything in the syllabus that would have helped me in my day-to-day life.”
Asked whether her economics studies help in her day-to-day life, Prerika Sharma, a psychology student who had also studied economics in school, informed The Observer: “Not at all. It was all bookish knowledge and it is completely different from what we need in daily life. What they taught us is not going to be of any benefit for us.” She believes that the education system is only grades- and job-oriented and doesn’t care about students gaining knowledge.
“However, if you are pursuing higher education, then they might teach the concepts that can help you in your life, but those who don’t opt for it, lag financial education,” Sharma added.
According to the Financial Literacy and Inclusion Survey 2019 of the National Centre for Financial Education, the southern states have a 30 percent financial literacy while the nation’s financial literacy stands at 27 percent.
Nilay Kumari, mother of a seven-year-old girl, shared: “I believe my daughter is old enough to know small things about finance. There are no such subjects for it, but I will make sure that I start expanding her knowledge on finances.” The first thing she taught her child was savings. “We have opened a bank account for her and try to teach her the basic concepts,” she added.
Rati Priya, mother of a 10-year-old, teaches her son money matters and finances. She makes her son understand basic things like the difference between need and want. “I try to make him understand the importance of money and make sure that he gets to know how to manage money and make a budget and spend according to it. These learnings will help him throughout his life.”
One of the essential life skills is financial literacy. Teaching kids about it can help them make wise decisions in life.
Shubham Khandelwal, an economics teacher, spoke to The Observer about financial literacy among students. “Only textbooks cannot make you financially literate. There are advertisements by RBI which makes us aware about various frauds. These kind of things help a child gain knowledge and initiate interest in them.” Schools should have some free periods where students should be taught banking, savings, loans and debts, household budgets and managing them.
“It’s important for them to learn these things; otherwise, they can fall prey to online frauds which are at a peak in India,” Khandelwal added.
Bhuvan T.M., a finance professional, considers financial literacy a core life skill to adopt and change in a competitive world. Students need to take charge of their finances to be competitive in a dynamic and changing environment.
“Primary principles like budget, spending habits, small investments and other things which will enable them to make well informed financial decisions on their own should be taught by parents,” he said.
If a student is going abroad for higher studies, he/she can learn about finances, but in schools, classes should be conducted for financial literacy and empower the students from the beginning.