ITE, DBS tie up to boost students' financial literacy

(From left) Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat and ITE College East principal Yek Tiew Ming, with students Akid Ali Liaqaat Ali, Javiel Chng, Shaon Suppiah and Theodore Chong, at ITE Headquarters yesterday. IT
(From left) Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat and ITE College East principal Yek Tiew Ming, with students Akid Ali Liaqaat Ali, Javiel Chng, Shaon Suppiah and Theodore Chong, at ITE Headquarters yesterday. ITE will roll out an enhanced financial literacy curriculum from March in partnership with DBS.ST PHOTO: JOSEPH CHUA

A study by DBS Bank has found that Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students were better than their peers at saving their pocket money.

But they were not keeping the cash for a rainy day, opting instead to set it aside for something they had been planning to buy.

To teach first-year ITE students the basics of budgeting and understanding their finances, ITE will roll out an enhanced financial literacy curriculum from March in partnership with DBS.

Ms Low Khah Gek, ITE's chief executive, said the new curriculum will leverage the bank's strong data analytics capabilities.

"Through this, we will be able to draw insights into the spending and saving habits of the youth-adult population, including ITE students.

"The power of such analytics is that we now have new and authentic ways to engage with our students to help them understand their spending patterns and habits," she added.

The tie-up was announced yesterday at the ITE Headquarters and officiated by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat.

The new curriculum will expose students to digital tools.

For example, a tool in the DBS/ POSB mobile banking application called Your Financial GPS allows users to track their spending, set and track budgets, and use personalised insights and financial advice to manage their finances. Launched last May, this tool has more than 1.5 million active users.

Students will have hands-on experience in creating their own financial plan using the tools. They will also have lessons that include practical examples and real life-scenarios.

The curriculum will be rolled out to this year's batch of 10,000 first-year students.

In his speech, Mr Chee said: "There is a need for us to work together to plug the knowledge gap through schools and tertiary institutions, and also through continuing education and training under SkillsFuture.

"We need to find ways to present complex financial concepts in an easy-to-understand manner, so that more Singaporeans know how to apply these principles to improve their personal and family finances."

Mr Jeremy Soo, DBS' head of Consumer Banking Group (Singapore), said there is a need for people to develop a "healthy relationship with money" and be responsible for their finances.

"Such habits will allow them to take charge of their financial health, plan well for the future, and reap the benefits as they progress later in life," he added.

ITE student Theodore Chong, 17, is hoping that digital tools will help him become a better saver.

"I keep my receipts and track them manually, but sometimes I forget. It's easier to have them in my phone that I carry everywhere," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2019, with the headline 'ITE, DBS tie up to boost students' financial literacy'. Print Edition | Subscribe