There has been a lot of media around the Ministry of Education's financial literacy pilot project announcement over the past few weeks. As news of the Ministry’s announcement spread, our inboxes were flooded with inquiries asking how/if this news will impact JA. "As longtime advocates and providers of financial literacy programs, we applaud the Ministry's efforts to bring greater focus to this pivotal 21st century skill” said Jane Eisbrenner, President and CEO of JA Central Ontario. “We look forward to continuing the tradition of partnering with all 12 school boards in our catchment area, responding to teacher requests to provide programs, and recruiting volunteers from across the corporate spectrum to engage students in the classroom.”
The pilot project, announced by Education Minister Mitzie Hunter on March 23rd, consists of a series of pilot projects at 29 high schools that will lead to the redesigning of the Grade 10 career studies course to include financial literacy lessons. The Ministry will also engage various stakeholders in the development of curriculum and we at JA Central Ontario look forward to being part of those conversations.
Much of the government's focus on financial literacy has been in response to the public efforts of Prakash Amarasooriya and the Toronto Youth Council petition advocating for this as a critical life skill. As a TD Bank employee, Amarasooriya noted that young customers tend to show signs of poor financial literacy. They either don’t get a credit card and don’t build a credit score, or they misuse their cards or end up struggling with debt.
Amarasooriya said he hopes that the revised grade 10 course will include a basic understanding of financial products, budgeting, and other financial skills youth need in the real world. We are proud to count Prakash as a JA Central Ontario volunteer and Company Program Advisor this year.
The proposed rollout of the revised course will not occur until after the pilot project completion in Fall 2018. Until then, there are over 500,000 students in Central Ontario that need to develop critical, financial life skills. By volunteering your time or donating your resources, you can help middle school students understand the concepts of income, expenses and interest; and secondary students will begin to save more, borrow less, and plan for a brighter future today.
To volunteer with JA Central Ontario, please click here.
To support JA Central Ontario financially, please click here.