Finnish pupils’ financial literacy will be PISA-tested in 2018

The PISA assessment of Finnish schools’ pupil performance will be expanded to include financial literacy. Until now, Finland has not participated in the module. The assessment will produce internationally comparable data on the financial knowledge of Finnish pupils. The Finnish financial sector believes the study will be valuable for the improvement of financial literacy.

In 2018, Finland will be participating in the PISA module on financial literacy. PISA (Programme for International Students Assessment) is a worldwide study in which OECD member countries assess the state of their educational sector as well as the levels of out-of-school-learning. The study has been designed to produce comparable data on 15-year-old pupils’ knowledge and the factors that influence their learning process.

Tarja Kallonen, Research Manager at the Federation of Finnish Financial Services (FFI), says that adding financial literacy in the PISA study is an excellent idea. Past experience indicates that more focus is paid on the development of teaching in the subjects that have been assessed in the study.

“OECD’s PISA studies in other countries have shown that good financial literacy also supports learning in other areas. Improving financial literacy helps prevent over-indebtedness and payment defaults. Everyone should have the skills to manage their personal finances and money matters, regardless of their age”, Kallonen says.

According to FFI’s survey on saving and borrowing behaviour, less than half of all Finns sufficiently plan their personal finances. The financial plans of most people span only the next three months or an even shorter cycle. As many as 60% of young people are not interested in financial planning and do not keep regular track of their expenditures.

“There is a real need to improve personal financial management. Recent data collected by the Finnish information services provider Asiakastieto shows an increasing trend in the number of registered payment defaults. Between 2009 and today, it has increased by 24 percent”, Kallonen states.

The most payment defaults are registered in the age group of 25 to 34 years. Nearly five percent of them have taken a fast cash loan, for example via SMS, within the last twelve months. Kallonen notes that a destructive cycle of fast cash loans can begin at an even younger age. What is worrying is that students of vocational education have more neglected student loans than others (60% of all neglected student loans).

The Learning Finances tour trains teachers in financial literacy

Schools have a key role in ensuring the younger generations are financially literate and skilled. Social studies teachers must be well-versed in financial matters to guarantee the quality of teaching. To support this, the teachers are offered financial literacy training in the form of the annual Learning Finances tour.

This year, the theme of the tour was daily finances. The tour visited three major cities in Finland.

The Learning Finances tours are collaboratively organised by the Federation of Finnish Financial Services, the Association for Teachers of History and Social Studies (HYOL), the Finnish National Board of Education, the Finnish Foundation for Share Promotion, the Bank of Finland, and the Economic Information Office.