The HELITFIN programme promoting financial education among Greek school pupils, which was run by Greek NGO ActionAid Hellas and sponsored by the EIB Institute, came to an end in September 2021 after two successful years.

This was the first time that regular, standardised activities focusing solely on financial education had been implemented in Greece.

Set up in September 2019, the programme developed a set of comprehensive training materials on financial education for teachers and pupils in Greek upper primary and lower secondary schools. It also included a mentoring scheme for teachers and a digital version of all the materials, which proved very successful during the COVID-19 pandemic. 547 teachers received the training and more than 6 250 pupils across Greece have already benefited from the project — the target is to reach up to 10 000 pupils in the months to come.

“Financial literacy is the possibility for citizens to participate in life; it enables citizens to become critical thinkers and to understand their collective and personal responsibility and their power and right to change it,” said Gerasimos Kouvaras, Country Director of ActionAid Hellas, at a closing event organised in Athens.

According to testimonials from several teachers who attended the event, the programme has not only changed pupils’ attitude to money and finance for the better, but also that of their families. As schools were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the families of many students and teachers joined in the training.

At first, many feared the challenge of teaching financial education concepts, as they were not economists by profession. But with the help of their mentors, they realised that the basic concepts of economics cover issues we encounter in our everyday lives and that we should not be afraid of them

At the closing event, Alexandros Koptsis, General Secretary of Primary, Secondary and Special Education at the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, underlined the importance of the project and of financial literacy as a means of social progress and adaptability. Work has begun to include financial education in the permanent curriculum of Greek schools, as part of the strategic priority to develop life skills.

The EIB Institute launched HELITFIN following the success of a similar programme in Bulgaria and an ongoing project in Italy.