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Starting them young


Fil C. Sionil

Fil C. Sionil

“Even in the mother’s womb, the fetus’ brain is like a sponge that absorbs everything,” Dr. Armine S. Panganiban, my niece, who’s a pediatrician, told me when my first grandchild Nathanne Rafaielle “Pangga” saw the light of the day. Bearing this in mind, just several days old, I would regale Pangga with the economic and market stories I had written.

This came to mind when Dwight Michael L. Medina, a grade six pupil at Philippine Army Ladies Foundation School in Taguig City, chose the right answer on the meaning of inflation. Though, the pop quiz was a multiple-choice, silence prevailed, as there seemed to be unwillingness among the school delegation to participate. Dwight was the only one, who bravely stood up to dare answer the question. For a moment, there was a bit of hesitation, one could virtually hear a pin drop as Dwight Michael mentally processed the options. With all the bravado he could muster and devoid of fear, he chose the correct letter that corresponded to the meaning of inflation.

I am sure this one was unrehearsed because the host was surprised as well. This could be detected from her voice as she acknowledged Dwight’s teacher. There was a great deal of pride for both. Hats off to the mentor of Dwight. Really starting them young on financial education (fin-ed).

I was already a journalist when I learned the meanings of inflation, stagnation, and deflation in the language of business at the Institute of Asian Management from Prof. Romulo Neri, former socio-economic planning secretary.

This was Wednesday last week at the launch in the country of the CashVille Kidz, a program of Maybank Philippines together with Maybank Foundation and in partnership with MoneyTree Asia designed to provide schools and educators with tools and resources that will enable them to sustainably educate and elevate the financial literacy level of students. It is also in line with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) advocacy of financial literacy and inclusion among school-aged children.

The program aims to teach elementary-children the importance of money, from savings to developing positive spending habits, making smart investments, enabling them to make informed decisions with confidence, raise their financial capability to prepare them to meet future financial challenges.

The launching was held on the day the country was commemorating the 158th birth anniversary of national hero Jose P. Rizal, who uttered this famous quote: “The youth is the hope of the motherland.”

BSP Deputy Governor for financial services sector Chuchi Fonacier said Rizal’s quote remains true up to this date. The younger generation will grow up to carry the responsibility of building a more productive, more progressive and more inclusive Philippines, she said.

“Among the most important life skill is management of their personal finances. Our children will need to handle their own money and make daily financial choices. Now is the time to equip them with financial literacy – the set of knowledge and the necessary skills.”

Still on this subject of education and literacy, John Giray of the commercial service of the US Embassy said it is still spring break in the US, but many foreign students are now thinking of pursuing studies in the US, Mr. John says there are 4,000 universities and 1,500 community colleges, with reasonable tuition fees that accept foreign students.

Many schools have decided to come together under the umbrella of study state consortiums. They then advise prospective students as a group and collectively promote students selecting their state. This method makes it easier to discover new universities. Many states popular with Filipinos, including New York, California, and New Jersey, have study consortiums. Check it out.

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