The Government has announced that financial education will be added to the National Curriculum for secondary school children from 2014. Younger students will be taught the basics of money and budgeting, whilst GCSE age teens will be taught about credit and financial risk, amongst other things.
Whilst I suppose this is a step in the right direction, I can't help thinking that it will go in one ear and out the other. I remember the citizenship classes being, for the most part, extremely dull. You sit reading about various laws and how they apply to you, whilst the teacher sits disinterested at the front, usually doing some marking! (Maybe that was just my school? Anyone have a better experience?)
Contrast this education in responsibility with the rest of the teenager's life; iPhones, Playstations, fashion magazines, movies, etc. Everything's a lot more exciting with the latest gadgets and trends. My friends and I used to go to the cinema pretty much every weekend as teenagers. Will today's students want to miss out on the fun just because their budget tells them to?
I know that the purpose of this education is to prepare them for their futures rather than to make teenagers live frugally, but I don't think they will really take in this theoretical knowledge until they actually need to use it, for example when they get their first job. Perhaps it's a good idea to introduce the concept of saving and living below your means, so that it's still kicking around in their conscious when it is needed in practise.
I think people learn by example, so if they see parents, siblings and friends living the high life by flashing the plastic they'll be more likely to do the same. Where possible, I think parents would be by far the best educators in finance for their kids because they're able to practically teach them about saving as a requisite of receiving an allowance.
What do you think? I don't think it's a BAD idea, I think I'm just a bit cynical! If I had been more financially aware, I would have budgeted saving for an emergency fund rather than just trying to avoid my overdraft! Do let me know what you think - I'd love to hear some opinions!