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How do kids really learn about money matters?

Financial skills be studying in schools Just in different ways than you might expect. Nick Thompson of the Te Ara Ahunga Ora retirement committee tells Reweti Kohere about it.

Nick Thompson used to think TikTok was just about viral dances and Singing sea huts. But with the platform’s personal finance content garnering nearly 5 billion views, Retirement Commission Financial Capacity Director Te Ara Ahunga Ora is starting to take notice.

A recent survey indicates that more Rangatahi are turning to social media platforms across schools for advice on how to manage their personal finances, prompting BetterSaver founder Joe Taylor To demand that the government make financial literacy a core subject in school.

Thompson says it’s Taylor’s right that personal finance isn’t mandatory in schools, but that doesn’t mean financial literacy isn’t taught. Since 2017, the commission has included in schools the first nationwide program supported by the government to provide students with Necessary skills To navigate a world full of cash, credit cards, and digital currencies.

So far, three-quarters of the schools have been registered in the “ranked in schools, Te whai hua – kia ora!” program while two-thirds of them use it. More than 300 teachers and Teacher They also completed professional development workshops. Latest NZCER Evaluation Report Sorted in Schools gave a pass mark, stating that they are doing well and having a positive impact. But progress in the parallel Kura Maori program is hampered by systemic challenges, such as teacher recruitment and retention and access to digital devices.

I spoke with Thompson about how students and educators are benefiting from Sorted in Schools, the “perfect recipe for education” and both sides of TikTok coin. (These questions and answers have been edited for clarity.)

Kia Aura Nick. Schools and kura can choose to use the commission’s program but who makes that choice? Is it up to individual teachers? department head? Managers even?

In some schools, teachers can bring it into the classroom because they have more control over what the curriculum or classroom activities look like. Some department heads have heard about our program, learned all about it and then engaged their teachers. On another level, some of the managers saw things happening in this space and got involved. And therefore [it’s] on multiple levels. We have always been trying to figure out the best way to get into schools. Do you have to start from the top? have to start [in] the middle? Should you start with teachers? It is actually a large and diverse group.

Once in school, we run webinars and workshops across regions of New Zealand, but we also provide one-on-one support to these teachers.

What convinced 67% of schools and Quora to use the program to participate?

Since we evaluate the software every year, it’s not just about the product, the resources, and the website. It’s about the support model. We have two specialists – one focusing specifically on Maori medium education in Kura and the other focusing on secondary school or English medium education. They are former teachers so they have been in the classroom, they can resonate with the teachers, and they understand the challenges in the classroom. This means that every school that has partnered with us has been able to figure out how to use the program in the right way because there is no single recipe.

We have 550 schools and kuras across New Zealand – maybe a little more than that – but each one operates the curriculum a little differently. Discovering this perfect puzzle and then being able to apply the product in that environment has been the recipe for our success.

A recent survey indicates that more Rangatahi are turning to social media platforms across schools for advice on financial matters. (Photo: Getty Images)

You not only reach the students, but you also help improve the financial capacity of our teachers, which goes back to a broader point that the level of understanding of New Zealanders is not where it should be.

In our research, we’ve found that New Zealanders are really good at the basics of financial ability – we’re very good at budgeting and we’re good at tracking [of] our money. However, the more complex things about financial ability – perhaps investing, long-term savings and especially understanding things like KiwiSaver or [another] An investment product, the terms and conditions and all the jargon that go along with it – this is a very daunting task for many New Zealanders. It is becoming increasingly difficult for women, Māori, and the Pasifika people. In the commission, we have developed a national financial capacity strategy and the larger goal is to work together [with other partners] To help New Zealanders understand more about money. We’re trying to get down to the basics of making sure there’s consistent content out there.

What are your thoughts on social media platforms such as TikTok becoming a source of financial information?

I think TikTok is great. It’s great for young New Zealanders, where to go, it’s a bit content. It’s like YouTube – they love YouTube – and we know it. The most important thing is that they really get it [good]Quality information.

How do you guarantee that?

This is really tricky because you can have, for example, an influencer who has a really large audience that might be nurtured to push a product or might not have strong financial literacy skills but they pass the information on to a really large audience. This is what worries me the most – [students] Get bad advice. The commission has to think: If this is where New Zealand’s youth are headed, how do we get there and how can we use these platforms in a good way? And how do we continue to develop our brand for this audience so they can connect with it and know that the content is government backed, independent – we don’t push any products – and trustworthy too? When content is independent, trustworthy, and of good quality, that’s the perfect recipe for education, right? But when that’s not the case, that’s where the risks come in.

The other side of the coin is ensuring that students are equipped with the skills and knowledge to judge what is reliable and what is questionable.

I agree. How do you make sure that the content you’re watching is solid, credible, and good advice for you? Rewind back many years ago, people may have taken this advice head-on and the audience size was much smaller. But when you’re on a platform like this, it’s easy to access and the audiences are huge. My concern is, especially for young New Zealanders who don’t know anything better but use these platforms to gain that knowledge – how do they ensure they get the right information before making a bad decision? There is another piece about preparing them to understand information that may not be perfect, correct or reliable.


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