Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Governor Charles Chuka says the decision by the Ministry of Education and the Malawi Institute of Education to incorporate financial literacy into their curricula will help deepen financial literacy levels in the country.
Malawi for the second year running is commemorating the Financial Literacy Week as one way of informing and educating Malawians in personal and household finance management.
During this week, financial service providers will take turns to promote awareness of products and services which they offer and stakeholders expect these showcases to increase financial knowledge among Malawians.
Speaking during the launch Chuka said the work that the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Malawi Institute of Education have embarked on will help more Malawians to learn about finances from a young age.
Said Chuka: “The two institutions of learning have incorporated financial literacy into secondary school curricula which should roll out in 2015. In readiness for the rolling out, secondary school teachers are being trained as trainers. The trainers will train other teachers and be ready to deliver financial knowledge to students. Similar approach will be taken to review primary school curricula.”
Apart from incorporating the financial literacy in the secondary school curricula, Chuka disclosed that another latest innovation in advancing financial literacy is the publication of Financial Complaints Handling procedures.
In this regard, he said press releases have been made in the daily papers and all financial institutions have started displaying posters, brochures and flyers with messages on how to lodge complaints with them.
Concuring with Chuka, Deputy Governor Grant Kabango responsible for supervision, said from now onwards any client who feels not to have been given the best of service from any financial institution is free to seek assistance from RBM.
“What we are saying is that when you find two bank tellers in a bank which was supposed to have six tellers and you spend three hours in that bank you can lodge a complaint with us. We know people have been suffering silently and as RBM we will be visible everywhere so that we get the complaints on time,” said Kabango.
He said some lending institutions hold on to important documents from their client as collateral and in the end this creates mistrust between the lending organisation and its customers.
“As RBM as much as possible we want to help the depositor and we will be reaching out to a lot of Malawians with information on how they can complain if they have experienced any problem with financial institutions,” said Kabango.
The Financial Literacy programme is a national response to the findings of the FinScope Survey conducted by FinMark Trust in 2008.
The survey was funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID).
The survey, among others, revealed that only 19 percent of the adult population was banked and three percent accessed non-bank products such as insurance services. Overall, only 45 percent of adults had access to financial services.
A follow-up Finscope Survey conducted in 2013 showed that the adult population accessing financial services has increased from 2008 by 10 percentage points to 55 percent.