Teens taught how to be peso-wise | Inquirer News

Teens taught how to be peso-wise

Teens don’t need to have much money to begin learning how to manage it. And they don’t have to be good at math, either. It is actually more a life skill than an academic matter to know that income that is earned honestly can be spent wisely, saved regularly and securely, as well as shared generously.

In celebration of National Savings Consciousness Week, Inquirer in Education (IIE), Citibank Philippines and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) have teamed up to bring a six-part series on money management to our young readers beginning today in the Learning section of this paper.


“You can bank on it!” is a module on financial literacy that Math or Economics teachers can use to impart to high school students the importance of knowing how to get a grip on their personal finances.

Citibank Philippines, in observance of its 109th anniversary of doing business in the country, is donating 109 copies of the Inquirer to each teacher who has signed up for the program.


Starting today and every Monday until Aug. 8, the copies will be delivered to the participating schools to enable students to follow the material and accomplish the accompanying activities.

“We’re happy to join hands with the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in introducing personal finance to high school students,” Citibank Philippines Consumer Markets head Sergio Zanatti said in a message delivered by Citibank country director for corporate affairs, Aneth Ng-Lim.

Citibank is the second corporation to sponsor newspaper donations linked to a particular learning module in the Learning section. In 2008, the IIE launched its Serial Reading Program with the support of Bench, which has since sustained the partnership and every September donates thousands of Inquirer copies to elementary schools.

Partner schools

To orient the 40 high school teachers on their responsibilities as IIE partners for the duration of the financial literacy series, the BSP sponsored a workshop on Saturday at its executive business center. It proved to be a most gracious host by giving the teachers a tour of the Money Museum and the Metrobank Museum’s gold collection, as well as food breaks with an unhampered view of Manila Bay.

“This program with the Inquirer and Citibank has thrice the significance for us at the BSP,” said Fe M. de la Cruz, BSP director for corporate affairs. “It begins with the celebration of National Savings Consciousness Week, we mark our 18th anniversary this week and our governor, Amando Tetangco Jr., starts an unprecedented second term today.”

The partner public school teachers come from Angeles City National High School, Bagong Silang High School, Dr. Juan G. Nolasco High School, Fort Bonifacio High School, Gen. E. Aguinaldo Integrated School, Isaac Lopez Integrated School, Kalayaan National High School, Las Piñas Science High School, Makati Science High School, Maria Clara High School, Muntinlupa Business High School, Muntinlupa National High School, Pedro Guevara Memorial High School, Quezon City High School and Teodora Alonzo High School.


Also included in the program are teachers from nonprofit schools, such as Erda Technical and Vocational School, Philippine School for the Deaf, Sisters of Mary Boystown, Sisters of Mary Girlstown and Tuloy sa Don Bosco.

Two teachers from the Bicol region, one with Mayon Institute of Science and Technology in Albay and the other with Computer Arts and Technological College in Legazpi, are also participating. Also signed up are one teacher each from St. Mary of the Woods and Blessed Christian private schools.

Training module

The Inquirer team, composed of the staff of the Learning section and the marketing department, organized the workshop around some of the lessons and activities the IIE adapted from “Global Financial Education Program: Young People: Your Future, Your Money,” a training module published by the Microfinance Opportunities and the Freedom from Hunger.

Just like sex education, financial education has not been given the parental attention it deserves in this country. This may explain why, according to a survey, less than 5 percent of Filipino children regularly save money.

To make up for the lack of interest to teach at home, sex education has been eased into the curriculum. The same is true of financial literacy. It is now a unit required to be taught at public schools.

“In the next six weeks, we are looking forward to talking to the students about how to save money and, at their young age, contribute to their family’s financial goals, which could be something as simple as cutting back on electricity bills or saving up for a vacation,” Zanatti said.

“They can also discover how they can earn money even if they’re still in school.”

Future wealth builders

Almost a third of the teachers at the workshop, in fact, reported having working students enrolled at their high schools, an indication that Filipino teens are assuming serious responsibilities involving money sooner than later in life. The statistics from the Commission on Higher Education bear this out: 40 percent of high school graduates in 2010 did not go on to college.

The teachers agreed that the more their students knew about managing money, the more prepared these young people would be for their future roles as business leaders, wealth builders and, at the very least, educated consumers,

The “You can bank on it!” series talks directly to teens. It aims to bridge the gap between textbook formula and everyday applications of math by introducing such concepts as comparison shopping and unit pricing.

There are lessons on the differences between needs and wants and between self-employment and wage employment. One chapter guides the young on how to negotiate successfully about money.

Of course, to encourage newspaper reading, activities linking the students to the up-to-the-minute material in the Inquirer’s different sections are included.

Never too early

“Citibank is a strong supporter of financial education and we have a long and successful track record in the Philippines, the Asian region, as well as elsewhere in the world, engaging different audiences—young and old, men and women, from entrepreneurs to working professionals,” Zanatti said.

“We believe it’s never too early to start learning money management, and the sooner we introduce the conversation to our children, the better.”

“The addition of this new program designed for high school students completes our advocacy,” said De la Cruz, who noted that the BSP’s financial education program already covers, in addition to overseas Filipinos and their dependents, young adults and professionals, college students and public elementary students.

Many provincial high school teachers who signed up did not make it to the workshop, but there is no reason they cannot teach the series on their own, since the material is being serialized every Monday in the Inquirer, which has a nationwide reach.

Although Filipino parents are not given to discussing pesos and centavos any more than they like talking about the birds and the bees with their children, the series can serve as a good opener for a conversation with teens about money matters.

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TAGS: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Citibank Philippines, Inquirer in Education (IIE), Inquirer Learning, National Savings Consciousness Week, teens
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