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March 12 sees the start of the fourth annual edition of the European Money Week, with events organised by national banking associations across Europe, including the Malta Bankers’ Association (MBA), to highlight the need of better financial education, especially amongst youths. The banking community views financial education as an important strategic aspect, and therefore actively seeks to boost awareness on the benefits of better financial literacy through events, publications and partnerships.

The European Money Week is one such major event which has now firmly established itself in the calendar of European banking associations. This annual initiative, which is coordinated by the European Banking Federation, involves young people in more than thirty countries, with activities ranging from classroom sessions, tailored educational programmes, competitions and visits to relevant institutions, all seeking to improve financial literacy through better financial education. Clearly, it is essential to promote financial education amongst students and youths from an early age, as the knowledge and skills acquired by them at that stage will serve them in good stead as they progress through life. Financial education is an essential component of their empowerment as it gives them a better understanding of how to manage their finances, and how to avoid unnecessary risks, excessive debt and, possibly, financial exclusion. Moreover it enables them to improve their understanding of the financial opportunities that the products which are available to them may offer. It is commendable, therefore, that aspects of financial literacy are also being tackled through some subject syllabi at both primary and secondary school levels.

Locally, the MBA has partnered with the Department of Curriculum Management’s Home Economics Seminar Centre, the Central Bank of Malta, the Malta Financial Services Authority, the Malta Stock Exchange, the Institute of Financial Services, Junior Achievement Young Enterprise, and Global Payments Ltd to put together a varied programme of activities aimed at students aged between 10 and 16 years from State, Church and Independent Schools. Around 300 students will be participating in these activities this year, a gratifying number which has increased with each annual edition of the Money Week. Teacher training is also an important element of the overall programme, and a half day training seminar for some 50 Home Economics teachers has also been organised in order to update them on new, fast-moving developments in areas of financial services, such as electronic payments, digital innovation in payments, investments and wealth management.

The cooperation extended by all stakeholders in supporting the European Money Week clearly reflects the common interest which the entire financial community has in the area of financial literacy, and demonstrates the readiness of these entities to include such initiatives as part of their strategic planning and Corporate Social Responsibility programmes.

12 March 2018