Financial courses for kids triggers new debate

BEIJING, Oct. 29 — A business institution recently introduced a new project – “Commercial school for children” in the west China city of Chengdu. The school aims to educate children about money management and endow them with a spirit of entrepreneurship. We have learned that their students are aged between 7 and 11, most of them come from rich families, and the school’s tuition fees are about 30,000 yuan a year. Lessons employing British teaching materials, interactive games, and practical courses are their commercial strengths; with the help of advertising stunts, financial literacy for kids is becoming a new talking topic among Chinese parents. But some question whether it is necessary to train children in financial skills.
The idea of building children’s financial understanding and advocating their financial independence was introduced in 2000 in a book by American writer Robert Kiyosaki, “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, which has enjoyed considerable worldwide success. To enhance a child’s financial intelligence is different from encouraging them to worship money. The aim of financial education is to help children to understand the value of money, and to know how to make good decisions about spending money, how to allocate money properly, and how to earn money legally. In reality, there are gaps and shortcomings in the financial education of children in China; educating them in how to manage money correctly therefore poses a new challenge for society and for parents in this new age.
Money is a good servant but a bad master. If children lack a financial education they are likely to misunderstand money or make mistakes. As more children begin to handle sums off cash in China, their parents are becoming aware of the importance of a financial education. Nowadays, people’s financial literacy is closely related to the quality of their social life, and therefore getting children acquainted with money management skills is an important and necessary part of responsible parenting.
News of this “commercial school for children” will perhaps remind Chinese educators that the promotion of a financial education for children is very important. The second generation rich should not be the only ones to have access to a financial education; every child needs to acquire a sound knowledge of financial matters.

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