The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will introduce a pilot scheme which adds financial literacy into school curriculums at target schools in Kampong Cham, Kampot, and Siem Reap provinces.
The classes, which will be added to grades 1 to 12, have the goal of improving students’ understanding of how to manage their money from an early age.
Mok Sarom, deputy head of the ministry’s Education Directorate General, is in charge of the roll-out of the new curriculum. He had observed the trial teaching of the subject in Siem Reap, noting that literacy went beyond letter and numbers.
“We are incorporating financial literacy, information technology and foreign languages in order to respond to the context of Industry 4.0,” he said, referring to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Sarom added that the trial of blending the financial knowledge lessons into school curriculums would involve four subjects: mathematics, moral and civic education, basic life skills, and housekeeping, from grades 1 to 12.
He said the ministry had already prepared text books on the subject and had trained lead teachers from the three provinces to deliver the lessons and pass their knowledge on to their colleagues.
Ly Bunna, director of the Siem Reap provincial education department, lauded the initiative, saying it would provide a valuable life skill to students.
“Financial literacy is a good subject that will be used by almost all students in their daily lives. It is great that it will be integrated at such a young age, too,” he said.
He added that as it is still in the developmental stage, its integration into the four subjects is not completely smooth as yet.
“We have identified a few small difficulties during the trial phase; we are looking into improving the integration process before it becomes part of the nationwide school curriculum,” he said.
According to Bunna, the trial in Siem Reap is being carried out at Hun Sen Roluos Secondary School in Prasat Bakong district and Muk Neak Primary School in Siem Reap town.
Ouk Chayavy, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, supported the integration of the topic into school curriculums, but suggested that it should begin at secondary school level, grade 7, when students are more mature.
“I think grade 1 is too early to understand financial matters. I think the time would be better spent on Khmer language skills. Some students even reach grade 7 without being able to read Khmer script fluently,” she said.
The goal of the extra classes is to develop the financial nous of students, particularly when it comes to loans, credit and their general attitude to money management, said a training manual at Muk Neak Primary School.