Honiara, Solomon Islands – Three Rural Training Centres (RTC) of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACoM) are the latest Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) institutions that will be providing financial education (FinEd) curricula in their courses from 2018.
This partnership between ACoM and the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) which will run from 1st July 2017 – 1st July 2019, is the third partnership this year under the programme’s regional FinEd Project where financial education is being embedded into TVET courses.
The FinEd Project involves the integration and strengthening of FinEd within the curriculum existing courses of carpentry, mechanical engineering, agriculture, life skills, business studies and electrical studies being the primary courses offered.
PFIP has hired consultants to work with ACoM to develop FinEd curriculum for the current TVET courses. The consultants will over the next couple of months, work with ACoM to develop the framework and resources for the teaching faculty and students and provide guidance to ensure strong and sustainable implementation at the end of the pilot.
Through this project, it is expected that from the 2018 school year, FinEd will be offered at the RTC’s based in Airahu, Garanga and Pamua which are managed and run by ACoM Board of Education within the Solomon Islands.
General Secretary of ACoM Dr Abraham Hauriasi said that the partnership with PFIP made perfect sense as FinEd learning focused on competency-based training.
“Our students will greatly benefit from basic money management skills that will be complimentary to the technical and life skills that they are learning at our centres. We believe that these skills can also help empower them to become good stewards of their resources, by encouraging them to think about saving their earnings and maybe even becoming entrepreneurs or farmers thus creating a positive impact on our community.”
PFIP Financial Education Specialist Abigail Chang said that the FinEd Project was part of PFIP’s ongoing regional policy support and commitment to inculcate Pacific Islanders with the knowledge, skills for good personal financial management through behavioural change.
“This partnership with ACoM is exciting because it will reach young people at the grassroots level through technical training focused on improving rural livelihoods. Learning financial management skills will help them to succeed in their future economic activity, whether it be good fiscal management of farms, small businesses or managing household expenses,” she said.
The FinEd Project is a result of findings of PFIP’s 2012 Financial Competency of Low Income Households study that found most low income households in the Solomon Islands displayed low levels of financial competence. This means most households are not able to manage money effectively. Households are generally better at managing immediate and shorter term financial activities and less competent at managing longer term financial activities (including activities that require forward planning) as well as more complex financial activities, including those which require engagement with the formal financial system. Overall, understanding of the cost of money was found to be very low.
The project also works toward the achievement of the 2020 Money Pacific Goals endorsed by Solomon Islands during the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting in 2009 and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion Maya Declaration Commitments made in 2013.
Financial Education and Financial Literacy are joint national priority areas identified within the Solomon Islands National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2016 – 2020. The strategy has set priorities to build financial resilience in households and communities by integrating basic financial education into the core school curriculum, from primary to tertiary levels, and the development of a rural financial literacy module focused on creating awareness on financial services to improve usage.
The regional FinEd project has also been implemented in Fiji and Papua New Guinea.