Efforts by the Federal Government to enhance financial literacy in Nigeria received a major breakthrough, as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), announced the inclusion of financial education in school curricula.
Having completed the process of developing the stand-alone Financial Education Curriculum (FEC) and its guide, the study is expected to be part of the 2017/2018 curricular.
Speaking at the critique and editorial workshop for the development of teachers' guide held in Lagos, last week, the Director, Consumer Protection Department, CBN, Umma Dutse, said financial education would fast track government's target of reducing the number of Nigerians excluded from the financial system from 46.3 per cent in 2010 to 20 per cent in 2020.
She noted that lack of consumer sophistication was identified as one of the contributory factors to the crises of 2008-2009 that affected the Nigerian capital market.
To address this, the CBN and other regulators in the financial ecosystem, according to her, adopted a programme, which emphasised consumer protection and financial literacy.
"Subsequently, Nigerian financial literacy framework was developed in conjunction with stakeholders, which recognises school children and youths as a major target for financial education. We also recognise the infusion of financial education in the national school curriculum as a primary channel to reaching out to this large group.
"CBN on behalf of the Financial Literacy Working Group of the Financial Inclusion Technical Committee approached the Federal Ministry of Education, and the NERDC earlier this year with a request that financial education be included in school curriculum. Our request was graciously accepted and work commenced with the conduct of the planning and writing workshop for the development of a standard school curriculum by July 2016.
"The process of developing financial education curriculum for schools, takes up to seven to eight years, even 10 years in other places, but barely one year of the commencement of the project, almost all the stages and processes of development and infusion have been accomplished, including obtaining approvals from the highest regulatory body. This achievement is indeed a reference point for other clients to learn from.
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Education Research Development Council (NERDC), Prof. Ismail Junaidu, said infusing financial education into the school curriculum would empower students to make informed and appropriate decisions in managing their resources.
"Financial education has to do with the knowledge and understanding of financial products, concepts and risks through information and instructions. Through education, individuals become more aware of financial risks and opportunities and are able to make informed choices and take other effective actions to improve their financial wellbeing."
On the aspect of training, he added that teachers would be trained in the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.