The Bangladesh Bank plans to launch a financial literacy drive to teach school children money management skills, governor Atiur Rahman said yesterday.
“The purpose of the programme is to make people understand about financial literacy. The scheme will teach kids money management skills that may be useful for the rest of their lives,” Atiur said while addressing a conference on school banking at the Bangladesh Bank Training Academy.
The First School Banking Conference 2013 was jointly organised by the BB and other scheduled banks in a bid to help school children develop saving habits from an early age. Arranging such a conference for the first time is a step towards instilling financial literacy among children, Atiur said.
Describing her experiences about school banking, Tangil Choity, a student of class eight at the Vikarunnesa Noon School, said: “School banking helps me develop a saving habit, and prevents me from misusing money. I am saving half of my salami (gifts of money) and daily expenditures given by my parents. I want to use my savings for my higher education.”
Sheikh Noor Muktadir, a student of class eight at the Cambrian School and College, said that before becoming an account holder, banking function was a complex issue for him. “But now it is clear to me how a bank operates and provides services,” Muktadir said.
Simran Tabasum Ali, a student of class 10 at the Scholastica School, said that her father encouraged her to open a bank account in 2011. “I am now able to use ATM and debit cards, and know about bank statements.”
As part of the financial literacy drive, a massive campaign will be carried out through radio, television and newspaper advertisements to provide children and teenagers with financial and banking information in a simple way, Atiur said.
He said the basics of handling money and finances will create positive relationships among children and the financial institutions, which will later help them take loans from banks for higher education. “The habit of savings among the kids will also help lessen financial burden of the parents,” he said.
The BB website will also put up a web-link on banking issues by posting features, stories and video games so that everyone, from children to the elderly, can gain financial knowledge, said Atiur, urging banks to come forward to make its planned initiative a success.
“The central bank will also set up a money museum at the Bangladesh Bank Training Academy so that children can learnabout the history, art and culture of the currencies of other countries,” he said.
In 2012, banks had spent Tk3.05bn on their CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities, up by 7.5% over the last five years. Banks are spending 32% of their total CSR activities in the education sector, according to the BB governor.
Meanwhile, five private commercial banks - Eastern Bank Limited (EBL), United Commercial Bank, Dutch Bangla Bank, Islami Bank and First Security Islami Bank - were given awards for good performances in expanding school banking across the country.
As of March this year, some 45 banks have introduced school banking services and opened accounts for 187,000 students. Their deposits amount to a total of Tk1.14bn, making an average deposit of Tk6,100 per head, according to BB data.
In a major decision in November 2010, the central bank asked all banks to open school bank branches, saying students need to be brought under banking services to help them contribute to the country’s economy through savings. EBL was the first bank to start school banking following the BB circular.
School banking, however, is not new in Bangladesh. Some banks had introduced school banking as far back as the 1960s,but the schemes did not last long.