Financial literacy programme helps ITE students grow their savings

The initiative will be rolled out to all 27,000 of ITE's students. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Students have been saving more over the past year, thanks in part to a pilot financial literacy programme that has stressed the importance of putting cash aside.

The dollar amount of student savings had increased by 80 per cent, noted the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and DBS Bank, which are running the programme.

DBS added that the initiative will be rolled out to all 27,000 of ITE's students, using the institution's home-based learning measures.

The pilot launched last year targeted 10,000 first-year students and covered topics such as digital tools for tracking finances, cashless payment methods and the basics of budgeting.

The new curriculum aimed at year-two students will involve additional topics such as Central Provident Fund contributions, different types of insurance coverage and cyber security best practices.

A survey of 2,500 of the students who participated in the pilot showed that more than 95 per cent said they now have a better understanding of their spending habits and are committed to saving more of their allowances.

And about 60 per cent said they now get pocket money electronically, a major change given students typically received allowances in cash.

The top three digital payment methods among students were debit cards, Nets and DBS Paylah.

ITE chief executive Low Khah Gek said: "Cultivating good personal financial habits is an important life skill.

"Students can also turn knowledge into action by using digital tools to track and manage their expenses. We are glad that many of them have improved their spending and saving habits through the curriculum and taken their first step towards financial wellness."

Mr Jeremy Soo, DBS' Singapore head of consumer banking group, added: "This... has brought home the importance of having good financial habits, and how these habits can help safeguard one's finances in times of crisis."

Student Sharwiinash Ramu, 18, said he used to spend on things he wanted, ending up with not enough to buy necessities like food.

He added: "The most useful thing I have learnt is setting specific financial goals. I have started... setting milestones that lead me towards(them)."

He is also using the DBS digibank app, which includes financial management tools, to help him achieve his goal of saving enough to buy a laptop.

Student Peter Dai, 18, said the knowledge he attained about saving has helped him to have enough funds now to tide him over the circuit breaker period, which has affected his earnings from his part-time work.

"(Previously) I often found myself spending most of my pay in one weekend and not allocating money for necessities such as food and transportation."

He added that he now understands the importance of "cultivating good spending habits and having substantial savings. Putting this knowledge into practice has helped me in my daily life".

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