Manulife joins hands with St. James’ Settlement to help improve children’s financial literacy
In view of the lack of knowledge about savings and misconceptions on financial concepts among Hong Kong’s younger generation, Manulife Hong Kong has launched a “FinKids Academy” program to help improve under-resourced students’ financial literacy, technology know-how and skills to prepare them for the hybrid financial world of the future.
As a part of Manulife’s “Go Paperless” Education Aid Program which is organised in partnership with St. James’ Settlement (SJS), the FinKids Academy program will benefit more than 600 underprivileged pupils from 24 primary schools from September 2022 to October 2023, after a pilot run between March and May this year.
The program offers hands-on learning for children to explore knowledge on topics like FinTech, digital currencies, budgeting, the metaverse, while teaching them to use various digital tools, such as basic coding, and virtual reality to simulate daily life situations with design thinking and mind-mapping tools.
In addition to the in-depth workshops totalling over 10,000 learning hours, there will be inter-school sharing sessions and immersive STEM field trips to provide the students with more engaging learning experience.
Calvin Chiu, Manulife’s Head of Asia Retirement, emphasises the company’s commitment to promoting children’s understanding of financial concepts with use of emerging technologies, helping them to make better financial decisions in the future. “Driving inclusive economic opportunities is a key part of Manulife’s Impact Agenda to create a more even playing field for all,” he adds. “We strive to bring long-term positive impact to the community by leveraging our expertise and network to raise the standard of financial literacy.”
Zhow Wong Ying, student at C.C.C. Chuen Yuen First Primary School who joined the pilot run, says: “I looked forward to the lessons because they were very inspiring and I had a lot of fun, especially the virtual reality activities. I learned how to save money, and have started to save with my pocket money.”
The results of a survey on 325 primary school students in June show that they are not having a clear concept about savings, says Josephine Lee, Chief Executive Officer at SJS, as more than half (57%) of the students are not sure how much they spend on average in a month. Close to a third (29%) do not know how to save money, and 23% even think their money will never run out.
Besides, the surveyed students seemed to be unfamiliar with digital wallets such as the Octopus cards, in spite of the extensive use of digital currencies nowadays. 62% of them are not sure about the balance of their digital wallets, and a third (33%) do not even know the source of the money stored in their digital wallets.
Chiu points out that, since 2020, Manulife has donated 400 iPads to 13 primary schools to support underprivileged pupils for remote learning. The program has now evolved from hardware donation to innovative workshops that equip children with essential knowledge and skills from a young age.