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Institutionalized financial literacy course in all school levels needed

Senator Win Gatchalian wants to make an Economics and Personal Finance (EPF) course mandatory in all levels, a move that can boost financial literacy nationwide.


VALENZUELA CITY, Philippines – A sari-sari store becomes a happy place for goodies and treats for school children after school as seen in this July 2014 file image. Senate Committee on Basic Education, Culture and Arts chair Senator Win Gatchalian is eyeing the next generation of financially-literate consumers with the passage of a bill that will help foster a culture of saving in the country’s consumption-driven economy. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Gatchalian filed Senate Bill 1192 or the “Economics and Financial Literacy Curriculum Act of 2019” which requires public and private school students in elementary, secondary, tertiary and technical-vocational education levels to complete EPF as a prerequisite for graduation. According to Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, the proposed measure will instill good money management habits so that students can become financially responsible adults.

Making spending decisions, budget preparation, and savings management are among the lessons that will be taught in elementary. At the secondary, tertiary, and technical-vocational education levels, the course will cover more complex topics such as credit, investments, mortgages and retirement planning.

“Halos 18 taon o higit pa ang ginugugol ng mga bata para sa pag-aaral, ngunit nagtatapos silang kapos ang kaalaman sa tamang paggamit ng salapi. Pag nagtatrabaho na sila, ginagawa nilang biruan ang petsa de peligro, pero hindi biro ang kakulangan nila ng kaalaman pagdating sa paghahanda sa kanilang kinabukasan,” said Gatchalian.

According to financial services company Standard & Poor’s latest Global Financial Literacy survey, only 25 percent of Filipino adults are financially literate.

“Sa paghahain natin ng ganitong batas, matuturuan natin ang mas maraming kabataan na maging mas responsable at handa lalo na’t darating ang panahon na aako sila ng mas maraming responsibilidad,” the lawmaker added.

Gatchalian said that while government agencies such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Department of Education (DepEd) are already offering programs on financial literacy, these efforts may not be sustainable if they are not institutionalized.

“Magandang meron na tayong mga programa tungkol sa tamang paggamit ng salapi pero sa ating panukalang batas, palalakasin natin ang mga programang ito para maturuan nang husto ang mga kabataan,” said Gatchalian.

The bill also provides for the EPF teachers’ capacity-building to ensure that the course is taught well to students. Under the proposed measure, DepEd, in coordination with the Center for Learning and Inclusion Advocacy of the BSP, will develop and offer a professional development course for EPF teachers.

Employees from both the government and the private sector will also be required to undergo a professional development course, a recognition of their role as partners in the youth’s financial education. This course shall be developed by the Local Government Academy and the Development Academy of the Philippines.

Gatchalian also hopes that the passage of the bill will help foster a culture of saving in the country’s consumption-driven economy.