Students to get more lessons on handling money under new syllabus

CHILDREN are to spend more time learning about money during home economics classes as Singapore grapples with rising costs and household debt.

A new syllabus to be rolled out by the Education Ministry next year will place greater emphasis on teaching secondary school students how to manage their finances. It will also introduce three elective modules for project work: food science, food entrepreneurship and consumerism.

The change was revealed yesterday by Dr Joyce Mok, a senior lecturer in natural sciences at the National Institute of Education.

"The difference is that we're giving more curriculum time to financial education, and we've introduced elective modules for project work," she said, adding that the new syllabus - entitled Food and Consumer Education - comes in the wake of increasing credit problems and rising costs.

Dr Mok, who is part of the syllabus committee, said learning about money management must start at a young age.

She was speaking on the sidelines of the 17th Biennial International Asian Regional Association for Home Economics Congress. The five-day event at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel brings together about 200 academics, educational leaders and policy makers from 13 countries.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower Hawazi Daipi said the design of the syllabus "takes into account the demographic changes in society".

Home economics is compulsory for lower secondary students.

Temasek Secondary student Jaren Pang, 13, said the extra focus on money management would be useful for some of his friends.

"When they see something attractive, like game cards, they don't think before buying," he said. "Shortly after, they will run out of money and ask if they can borrow from me and my friends."