In the fallout of the RC into the finance sector, one of things that has propped up in the past week is the idea of banks being involved with schools in an effort to teach kids about money and saving. Teachers have been calling for banks to be banned from carrying out programs to educate kids on financial matters as it is quite obviously a marketing tactic aimed at children to grab them as customers. I agree.
This kind of issue goes hand in hand with the idea of the government outsourcing services to private interests. In this instance, the private interests are embedding themselves in the school system as a means to gain customers in the long-term. In a number of cases the ABC cited, the kids being signed up for Dollarmites now have parents who also went through the Dollarmites program. Some see it as a nonissue and just a way to teach kids about saving. The Australian Education Union, teachers, and ASIC all think differently.
While it is absolutely necessary to teach kids about good financial management, such as saving, it’s ironic that those flocking to teach these kids (the banks) are institutions that make fortunes off the back of financial illiteracy. I cannot see the banks providing worthwhile educational services when their entire business model is swindling the masses with deceptive methods. The way I see it, banks inserting themselves into the schooling system is simply an investment that takes advantage of education as a disguise.
Children need to learn about how money works, but the programs to achieve this should not be in the hands of the private sector, and certainly not that which profits directly in the business of finance. Instead, such programs should be embedded as part of the curriculum, taught by teachers, or by independent and public groups with no ulterior motives. Outside of schools, if parents wish to have savings accounts for their children with a bank of their choice, that is fine, the onus is on them. But schools, especially public schools, should not be subjected to the marketing interests of the banking industry.
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