Zaldo prize to Iisalmi and new financial teaching materials for schools

More than one hundred 9th grade school classes participated in the annual Zaldo competition, which tests 15 to 16-year-old students’ financial knowledge. The competition is related to the website: a gamified learning environment that teaches personal financial skills and money management. The Zaldo concept is currently being revamped, and next autumn the main competition will be accompanied by MiniZaldo for primary school students.

This year’s best performing class was 9A from Pakila school in Helsinki. Second place went to class 9A from Mäntysalo school in Nurmijärvi, and the third to 9B from Merikoski school in Oulu.

A €500 prize was also raffled among all the school classes that used the learning environment and took the Zaldo test. This year, the prize went to 9G from the Juhani Aho school in Iisalmi.

Juhani Aho school’s history and social studies teacher Minna-Maija Reinikainen is delighted: “Gamification is an effective way to learn ‒ it inspires young people to get interested in financial matters. The contents of Zaldo had actual real-life relevance, and the competition made taking the tests compelling. The students found the site entertaining. They get to decide for themselves what the prize money is used for at the end of the school year.”

Mini version of Zaldo coming this autumn

The contents of the Zaldo financial learning environment will be renewed later this year. Primary schools will get their own MiniZaldo website, which will also involve a playful competition. In addition to the FFI, participants in the project include Junior Achievement Finland, the Finnish Financial Ombudsman Bureau (FINE), and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.

“New curriculums contain a bigger portion of economic matters and, what is really commendable, more teaching hours in primary schools as well. There is demand for good teaching materials, so we developed new content especially for 4th to 6th grade students”, says Tarja Kallonen from the Federation of Finnish Financial Services.

Laying a good foundation of financial literacy at an early age is the best way to prevent future payment defaults. Awareness of its importance has grown globally, and the currently ongoing European Money Week is dedicated to the improvement of financial literacy and teaching across Europe. Many Finnish financial sector companies take part in the week’s activities with their own projects that promote financial literacy in different ways.