Introduce Financial Literacy as a subject in schools or incorporate this topic as part of a larger subject on living skills.
This will help students to better use their money and have enough savings to face their future, suggested veteran economist Yeah Kim Leng.
“What is key is that we teach children how to save and invest wisely, live within their means and make their parents proud of their financial success.”
Speaking to FMT, the Professor of Economics at Sunway University Business School said financial literacy was still lacking among students who finished their schooling.
Elaborating on financial literacy education, Yeah said lessons on budgeting, reading financial statements, savings, investing, taking loans and various financial concepts could be taught.
“There is concern that post-retirement, people will not have enough money to survive.”
He said there were several contributing factors, including the rising cost of living and wages that do not commensurate with the times.
Universiti Malaysia Kelantan’s (UMK) Abu Sofian Yaacob supported the idea of having a subject on financial literacy, but pointed out that students were already burdened with a heavy curriculum.
“We don’t have to make it mandatory. Maybe it can be an elective subject or embedded into other subjects,” he told FMT.
He said that if this subject was introduced, students should be taught on the capital market, functions of various financial institutions, financial planning and different forms of investments.
Abu Sofian said that such a subject would also give students an insight into careers in the financial sector.
National Parent-Teachers Association (PIBGN) Chairman Prof Dr Mohamad Ali Hassan told FMT that the Education Ministry should consider introducing elements of financial literacy into subjects or even introduce it as a full subject.
He said the ministry should evaluate whether the current efforts and initiatives to improve financial literacy were sufficient.
“If it is not enough, then the ministry has to revamp its lessons on financial literacy or increase lessons on the matter.”
On Wednesday, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Assistant Governor Jessica Chew revealed that up to 92% of Malaysians worry over their financial health and feel they are unprepared for retirement.
Chew said financial education had been integrated into formal school curriculum for pupils from Year Four to Six as an initiative to reshape the reality among Malaysians.
Last year, The Rakyat Post reported on a study by the Asian Institute of Finance, which said that Malaysia’s Gen Ys were experiencing significant financial stress early in their lives, with many reliant on personal loans and credit card borrowings.
Business Insider had also reported that in the United States, some 17 states required students of public high schools to take a personal finance class prior to graduating. This included economic subjects which covered personal finance.