02 SES 11, Literacy Practices and Practical Education
The ability to reasonably deal with financial matters – in the public debate also known as “Financial Literacy” or “Financial Competence” – is currently strongly considered because in modern economies finance-related tasks and challenges are becoming more and more essential not just for professionals in the sector of investment and banking but for every person who is responsible for managing his or her financial affairs in everyday life. Additionally, in a time where the financial system increasingly influences the non-economic sphere the understanding of financial issues is to be regarded as a key component of political education in a democracy. This rising importance of financial matters is attributable to several demographic, social, political and economic trends which are currently challenging most of the European (as well as other industrialized) countries, and which, among others, include structural changes in the financial services and in the labour market, decline of the welfare state and demographic change (e.g. Reifner, 2006). However, since these developments impose challenges on financial education that certainly cannot be tackled only by family socialization and everyday experience, the promotion of financial literacy should become a core concern for every educational system with respectively organized learning and education processes.
One important starting point to encourage the development of financial literacy is the inclusion of respective learning contents and goals into existing curricula. Even though the regulatory power of curricula should not be overestimated, they do mirror what is officially represented as adequate conceptualisation of financial literacy and also constitute a central reference point for the design of instruction. Based on these considerations, the research activities reported here aim to explore two main research questions:
(1) To what degree are topics related to financial issues represented in existing secondary level vocational education and training (VET) curricula?
(2) Do the curricular representations differ according to the aspiration level of VET programs and between VET schools?
We decided to focus on VET curricula mainly because of the high reputation and importance that VET assumes in the Swiss educational system (in Switzerland, 75% of young adults enter vocational education and training after completing their compulsory education) but especially for reasons that are concerned with the particular developmental demands of this target group: Apprentices in VET earn their own money and are immediately in the need to acquire and practice financial literacy skills. In contrast, recent surveys (e.g. Intrum Justitia, 2012) show that especially this group of young adults seems to be prone to unfavourable financial behaviour such as excessive consumption and over-indebtedness.
Davies, P. (2012). Financial Literacy in the context of democracy. Paper presented at the ECER Conference, Cadiz, 22nd-25th September. Intrum Justitia (2012). RADAR 2012. Jugendverschuldung in der Schweiz. Downloaded from http://www.intrum.com/ch/presse-publikationen/radar/ Krippendorff, K. (2012). Content analysis (3rd ed). Newsbury Park, CA: Sage. PISA (2012). PISA 2012 Financial Literacy Assessment Framework. Downloaded from http://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/46962580.pdf Reifner, U. (2006). Financial Literacy in Europe. Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft.
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