Many teens graduate high school feeling equipped to recite a sonnet or calculate Pi, but woefully unprepared to negotiate a salary, apply for a mortgage or fill out a tax return. But starting this year, a new province-wide Grade 11 financial course will aim to give teens a better understanding of money matters — and it will cover much more than just how to balance a cheque book.
Thomas Rhymes, Director of Educational Services at the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB), said that the course will also cover big-picture financial planning related to career and educational goals. “It’s financial literacy in a very broad sense,” Rhymes said. “It’s how to position yourself to be successful later in life.”
Rhymes said the new curriculum standardizes what will be taught and is grouped in three categories: consuming goods and services, entering the workforce, and pursuing an education.
Students will learn about consumption, debt, purchasing power and savings, as well as employment, compensation, taxation, and financing education. There will also be material covering legal information, such as consumer rights and responsibilities, employment laws and labour regulations.
The new course is being slotted into the social sciences (with subjects like history and geography), which Rhymes said encourages students to explore the social aspects and implications of how we deal with finances.
Rhymes said the LBPSB is also piloting an academic- and career-guidance program that will introduce goal setting and career orientation to children as early as Grade 6. In a world where traditionally stable jobs are disappearing due to outsourcing, automation and other technological factors, Rhymes said schools are leaning away from directing children to prepare for specific jobs, and coaching them to consider the many ways it is possible to make a living based on their skills and strengths.
“It’s about finding your way…discovering your passions and learning about your aptitude.”