Financial literacy belongs in high school curriculums, the only questions are when and how.
In the past few years, there’s been a push to mandate basic financial literacy in current high school curriculum.
A recent statement by Ontario Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter announced that the province was working on incorporating financial literacy into the existing Grade 10 Careers course. There are merits to integrating financial literacy this early and in this way.
Right now, the little financial literacy taught in high school is reserved for a unit in senior-year Economics or Accounting electives. For students who opt out of these optional courses, they may be graduating high school without any idea of how to handle loans or filing taxes — something they’re probably going to have to deal with very soon.
If students are expected to deal with money as soon as they leave Grade 12, there’s no reason that high schools shouldn’t be focusing energy towards preparing them for that.
After all, it’s in the interest of a government, which relies on tax revenue, to teach young people how to do their taxes.
Students in the tenth grade are just getting old enough to get their first jobs. They’re going be dealing with money sooner rather than later. Even if they won’t have to handle finances until they reach university, it’s better to build a foundation earlier on than pile on all the information just before graduating.
But there are also merits to integrating financial literacy into math courses. With some finance units already integrated into math courses, widening the already existent financial literary in the math curriculum seems like a natural shift.
It also seems appropriate that a teacher with a math background is teaching financial literacy, and not a History teacher relegated to the position because no one else volunteered.
While financial literacy definitely deserves the interest, making sure it doesn’t get lost among the required course load is worth more consideration.
The room went silent when CIBC’s Deputy Chief Economist Benjamin Tal asked what the inflation rate is in Canada. To be fair, the room was filled with children in Grade 7 and Grade 8, but it probably wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to say that most adults would have drawn a blank too.
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