The importance of being financially educated is at the forefront of a lot of discussions globally. With worldwide concerns about debt levels, unemployment rates and a lack of general personal wealth management, New Zealand is not immune from the current unfavourable landscape.
One positive externality of this heightened awareness is that many are now placing a larger importance of introducing a financial education to younger generations. Banqer is a purpose built tool to make teaching financial education in schools very straightforward and easy.
Banqer is an online app that is designed to support educators and give children hands-on experiences with making financial decisions. It is a virtual banking system that opens up a world of learning about money to the students within their classroom. Banqer links in with the New Zealand Curriculum and aligns strongly with the Financial Capability Progressions as well. There are also many intentional connections with the National Strategy.
Banqer initiates and encourages conversations about money. Due to the nature of how Banqer is integrated into the classroom students need to work together and talk about finances. Whether it is negotiating wages with peers or explaining how tax, and interest work. These conversations not only happen at school but trickle through to the home. Families are having talks around the dinner table and children are asking parents for financial advice, and in some cases educating parents.
Banqer is all about learning. Modular in approach and hands-on in nature, the students are obtaining financial capability skills for life. One example of this is the development of class companies. Nearly all children initiate a class business and the learning that surrounds this process is huge. They learn about wages, income, expenses, interpersonal relationships and much more. Many students will work together in forming a company, or look to employ their peers.
"They are accessing it at home and discussing with friends and family. Some children have actually looked into opening their own [real] bank accounts especially realising they are getting interest on their savings. It's awesome hearing children having these conversations with their parents!" Colin Hill Year 5 & 6 Teacher, Linwood Ave School.
“The students have thoroughly enjoyed creating businesses to generate more revenue for their accounts. It has helped them develop an understanding of the financial world with such things as income and expenses.” Alex Devereux Year 8 Teacher, Medbury School.
Banqer integrates seamlessly into any facet of school life. A number of teachers now plan units with financial capabilities in mind. Many of these units require the groups of students to plan or set up and follow a budget. Recently, a Banqer teacher carried out a project that involved the students creating some wearable art. These students had to plan, budget and then purchase items (recyclable goods) to be used. The financial learning involved with this task was very relevant and powerful. Also, many children using Banqer set themselves personal money goals to work towards.
"Having a class currency system creates a real life context in the classroom and gives everything we do an authentic purpose.” Jolene Butson Year 6 & 7 Teacher, Churton Park School.
Students can learn about debt and risk in a safe environment. What better way to learn about the pitfalls of bad debt than to experience it first hand? Banqer allows teachers to set-up scenarios whereby students are able to take out loans or debt. Some of these are bad debt while others are potentially good debt, such as a mortgage from the Real Estate module. Students learn how to service these loans while maintaining a healthy bank account. If they make a mistake, they quickly learn the impact of their financial decision making.
"When you buy a house it shows the percentages of how much rent per week you get, so it helps you figure out the repayments.” Student, St. Martins School.
Inside Banqer, students have a savings account as well as their expense account. Teachers are able to adjust the interest that children can earn, which gives the opportunity for them to learn about things, such as compounding interest and term deposits while encouraging sound savings and investment habits. Because interest accrues every week the power of compounding interest is accentuated and highlights the impact of saving early. Some students have even started KiwiSaver accounts in real life as a result.
“Banqer is really fun to use. I’ve learnt that the more money you save, the more interest you make.” Student, Medbury School.
Banqer seeks to ensure that the next generation are prepared to enter the world financially capable citizens. By aligning the tool with the National Strategy we’re ensuring a certainty around the life lessons that these students will be learning together, nationwide.