Primary school pupils in Ireland can now learn about the dangers of illegal money lenders thanks to the creation of new resources within Values, Money and Me, a free online teaching resource launched by Experian and designed to help primary school pupils explore both practical and emotional issues around managing money.
It is estimated that approximately 250,000 families across Ireland rely on borrowing money to make ends meet, and there is a concern that illegal moneylenders in particular could prey on vulnerable families desperate for additional funds for Christmas. Unlicensed, illegal money lenders, often referred to as “loan sharks”, can sometimes resort to intimidation and violence if repayments are missed. This aside from the 45 or so licensed authorised moneylenders who are regulated by the Central bank of Ireland and can charge up to 200% interest each year. Unauthorised moneylenders can charge over 2,000% !
Valuesmoneyandme.ie helps pupils aged 4-12 explore aspects of money in a fun and engaging way through the dilemmas faced by the residents of the fictitious Pride Place. Simple to use, the resource is made up of a series of interactive storybooks with supporting quizzes and teacher materials. The new module ‘Do You Need It?’ examines the cash-strapped Murphy family’s options when their TV breaks down, and considers the pitfalls of borrowing a high interest loan from an unlicensed moneylender, in an age appropriate manner.
Charlie Brown, Company Secretary of Experian Group says, “It is vital that our school children are given a good education in financial manners now, to help them better understand and manage their money successfully in the future. Research has shown that most children develop values and attitudes in relation to money by the age of seven, so it’s particularly important that they understand concepts such as budgeting, saving and debt, and how to manage money in a safe and sustainable manner.”
John-Mark McCafferty, St Vincent de Paul (SVP), Head of Social Justice said, ‘SVP believes that helping children to learn about the value, choices and responsibilities that money presents is a key part of education. As Ireland’s leading charity of social concern and action, assisting families financially in communities across Ireland, we appreciate the need for learning opportunities for children regarding their money, how best to use it and risks to be aware of. The more aware and budget savvy children are, the more empowered they will be as young people and adults.’
John Lowe the Money Doctor welcomes the move “The financial education of our children has really been non-existent from the time they start playschool. Learning the financial basics the right way from an early age is crucial in how they are going to develop as adults. Valuesmoneyandme is a welcome start.”