A fun way to learn about CPF, financial literacy

Guangyang Secondary School students playing Race To Save, one of several games organised by the CPF Board at the school yesterday, as part of a programme to motivate secondary and tertiary students to start saving early and learn more about the Centr
Guangyang Secondary School students playing Race To Save, one of several games organised by the CPF Board at the school yesterday, as part of a programme to motivate secondary and tertiary students to start saving early and learn more about the Central Provident Fund.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Whenever Matthew Lam heard the acronym "CPF", he would always think it had something to do with his grandparents.

But after an event yesterday afternoon at his school, the 16-year-old now knows how he can use his Central Provident Fund money when he is working.

The Secondary 4 student took part in games organised by the CPF Board at Guangyang Secondary School, as part of a programme to motivate secondary and tertiary students to start saving early and learn more about CPF .

The session saw 250 upper secondary students attend a game-show assembly and play interactive board games that taught financial literacy concepts such as compound interest.

"I learnt that you can use your CPF money to pay for healthcare and property," Matthew told The Straits Times. "The board game highlighted to me unexpected situations like 'rainy days', which requires your savings.

"The session also taught me to save early and save more, because life is full of unexpected events."

Guangyang Secondary principal Alvin Lim said: "It's never too early to learn financial literacy. Planning to save is a skill and knowledge that the youth will need as they grow older."

The CPF Board also works with students at junior colleges and tertiary institutions through the use of game machines, with CPF staff on hand to give advice.

The CPF Board has visited more than 40 secondary and tertiary institutions since the programme started in February.

Mr Jeffrey Png, director of its outreach and partnerships department, said: "We will continue to reach out to as many schools as possible."

Other government initiatives also aim to boost financial literacy among the young.

From this year, all first-year polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education students will be taught a mandatory module on financial literacy.

The ungraded programme will teach budgeting and financial basics such as the effect of compound interest on debt and savings.

Over the next few years, other financial education curriculum modules will also be piloted with selected second-and third-year students, to help them understand how insurance, investments and national schemes like CPF work.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2019, with the headline 'A fun way to learn about CPF, financial literacy'. Subscribe