The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) draft baseline survey to examine financial literacy and capability of secondary school students and teachers has uncovered loopholes in basic understanding and uptake of financial issues.
The survey titled Measuring Financial Capability, Inclusion and Consumer Protection of Secondary School Students and Teachers in Malawi, was drawn from sample size of 2 600 and 1 400 students and teachers, respectively whose selection was representative at the national as well education division levels.
The survey conducted by Lilongwe-based Millennium Consulting Group found that students are weak in financial knowledge while teachers lack monitoring skills, but both are strong in attitude.
In his remarks during a consultative workshop in Blantyre yesterday to share the findings before the official report, RBM director of microfinance and capital markets Hastings Mzoma said financial literacy has become a policy issue for the country.
He said it is important that every citizen takes interest in financial issues, adding that the central bank has set up strategies to enhance financial inclusion key among them being the use of learning institutions to deliver the programme.
Said Mzoma: “It should be the role of implementing authorities to adopt innovative ways to deliver financial education to the nation. On the other hand, teachers should find ways and means to deliver lessons on the same to students in an interesting manner.”
During the meeting, stakeholders made a number of recommendations to be used to help enhance financial literacy.
Some of the recommendations called on RBM to enforce the role of both money lenders and borrowers, consumer protection institutions should strengthen their supervision of financial service providers and that a savings culture should be encouraged.
A representative of the Ministry of Education Science and Technology, Rita Nkhomaanthu, said they are ready to support the findings and recommendations drawn from the meeting.
“We believe that we have a role to play to help sensitise teachers to how they conduct themselves financially, but also deliver their modules to students.
“Resources permitting, we will work with the teachers on how best they can use tools such as cell phones as the survey has established that not most of the teachers are aware of financial services that come along with the services such as mobile money,” she said.
RBM has been implementing the World Bank-funded Financial Sector Technical Assistance Project (Fstap) over the past five years to bring the desired financial sector reforms to enhance financial literacy. n