Why inclusion of personal finance management in UAE’s public school curriculum is a step in the right direction?

The UAE Ministry of Education has recently taken a decision to embed financial literacy into the national curriculum and introduce Personal Finance Management (PFM) as a mandatory subject in the country’s revised public school syllabus from the coming academic year in a bid to battle disturbing debt trends among youth.

To accomplish this goal, the Ministry of Education has collaborated with Emirates Foundation for Youth Development (EFYD) and has signed an agreement on April 16 with regard to the new syllabus and relevant modules under the Educational Curriculum Initiative. EFYD is an independent philanthropic organization established by the Abu Dhabi government for development of youth.

This move on the part of the country’s Ministry of Education is aimed at creating greater awareness among young people about how to manage their personal finance. It is also expected to bring in other benefits by contributing in a big way to a bright and prosperous future of the UAE by increasing the financial literacy skills of the country’s youngsters and by improving their job and career prospects.

Emphasizing on the need for the country’s youth to well-comprehend the issue of personal finance management and imbibe the concept of savings, Minister of Education Hameed Mohammad Al Qattami said increasing financial literacy skills is thus the key to UAE’s human development. Emirates Foundation Chief Programmes Officer Maytha Al Habsi believes financial literacy training is the need of the hour in the UAE as 70% of the Emiratis under the age of 30 are reported to be in debt.

Stating that inclusion of personal finance management in the teaching curricula will allow students to gain the necessary skills and knowledge as well as the required values and attitudes to carve out a sustainable future, Emirates Foundation Managing Director Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan said this move will thus ensure a prosperous future for the coming generations.

Since financial issues have been identified as a key contributor to divorce, the UAE continues to face serious issues related to debt among young people that tend to create a negative social impact. In this scenario, the decision to introduce personal finance management as a subject at the school level will definitely help young people in the UAE to enhance their financial planning and management skills. It will also teach them how to avoid excessive debt, while managing their finances in such a manner that they can provide for themselves and their dear ones throughout their lifetime.

Financial literacy surveys conducted in various countries, including the United States, have time and again confirmed that the need for financial education is indeed great. Without a solid foundation on which to base their everyday financial decision, most people find themselves on slippery grounds when it comes to dealing with bad situations that crop up unexpectedly and when they are required to take tough financial decisions to overcome them.

On the whole, these surveys have concluded that financial literacy education helps transform students into better money managers so that they become financially smarter when they grow up. Such courses imparted at a young age not only have a lasting impact, but also contribute towards changing their financial behavior permanently from a very young age.

Furthermore, it also makes them spend their money more smartly and put aside more savings and also enable them to deal with their complicated financial life more wisely. All these give them the required confidence and peace of mind to live happier and better lives than their contemporaries who could not attend such financial literacy courses during their school years.