Financial education is the ability to use a set of skills and knowledge that enables individuals to make informed and effective decisions with all their financial resources. Very often, vulnerable groups and less affluent communities lack those skills and evidence suggests that insufficient financial education may have contributed to the sub-prime and related crises.
We have been active in research into financial education – we awarded an EIBURS to the University of Groningen (Netherlands) to review existing initiatives with the objective of identifying success factors and best practice – as well as in financing programmes designed to promote and implement such education in Bulgaria, Italy and Greece.
In Greece, the Institute launched in September 2019 a new financial education project with ActionAid Hellas to reach primary and secondary students, targeting children mainly from underprivileged areas in Athens, Thessaloniki, Central Macedonia and Epirus.
In Italy, more than 5 000 children have already benefited from the MOney LEarning (MOLE) project, signed in 2016 with Turin’s Museo del Risparmio and Fondazione per la Scuola. This focused on organising visits to the museum for primary school children (aged 10-11 years) from remote mountain areas in the Piedmont Region. The project was extended in April 2019 to the neighbouring regions of Lombardy, the Aosta Valley and Liguria. As a natural extension, the Institute, the Museo and Scania Italia launched first European “museum on wheels”, which toured Italy between October 2018 and April 2019 reaching 10 000 students in seven provinces and broadened the concept to include saving resources, not only financial but also natural. The measures taken by the Italian government to fight the COVID-19 epidemic curtailed the second tour of the “museum on wheels”. Despite the early ending, the SAVE tour visited 17 cities in five regions of Italy reaching 4 550 students from October 2019 to March 2020 .
In Bulgaria, between 2014 and 2018, around 2 500 Bulgarian students aged 15 to 18 years benefited from the Institute’s partnership with Aflatoun International. Through its network of partners, this Amsterdam-based NGO offers social and financial education to children and young people, especially the most vulnerable.