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16 June, 2024
 
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Cyprus revamps school curriculum to address financial literacy gap

President announces inclusion of financial education in secondary schools amid calls for comprehensive approach

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In response to concerns over low financial literacy rates among Cypriots, highlighted in studies including the Central Bank's 2021 report, efforts to address the issue have been reignited. The Central Bank organized an international conference last Friday, where President Nicos Christodoulides unveiled plans to integrate financial education into all sections of the third grade of secondary school starting next year. While this initiative has garnered support from academic experts, there are calls for a more comprehensive approach to financial education, including the creation of an autonomous course similar to models in the US.

According to a report by Pavlos Neophytou, Education Minister Athena Michaelidou clarified that the financial literacy course will initially be introduced on a pilot basis, with details to be outlined in a forthcoming circular. While emphasizing the importance of educating all students during compulsory education, Michaelidou noted that primary education curriculum updates for the new school year will include elements of financial literacy.

Academic experts underscore the vulnerability of young people to financial illiteracy and advocate for systematic and integrated financial education in schools. Panagiotis X, an academic participant in the conference, warns against occasional interventions, citing the need for a comprehensive approach to address the breadth and depth of financial literacy needs. Experts argue that sound financial knowledge is crucial for developing healthy financial habits and achieving long-term personal and social well-being.

Additionally, there are calls for the establishment of a platform to provide financial education to citizens of all ages. Marios Mavridis, DISY MP and member of the Education Committee emphasizes the importance of a centralized platform for individuals to access information on various financial issues, a practice already implemented in foreign countries.

In light of the digital era, discussions also focus on digital financial literacy. Andreas Milidonis, Professor of Finance at the University of Cyprus, highlights the importance of equipping students with the basics of money management before delving into digital financial literacy issues. Efforts to educate individuals on digital financial tools and safeguard against online scams are deemed essential in navigating the digital financial landscape.

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