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Financial Education in the EU: the SUCCEED Experience

29/08/2019
by Marko Nikolic
Tungumál: EN

The ever-increasing financialization and complexity requires financial literacy to be an integral part of the research agenda and of global policy making, in particular in the European Union. This is particularly true for developed countries, as research results suggest, financial literacy becomes more important with higher levels of economic development.

Financial literacy is important for the EU for three reasons:

  1. In the face of a rapidly ageing population, the pressure on the pension system could be alleviated by shifting to professional and personal insurance systems;
  2. Mortgage debt accounts for a large share of the total debt of euro area households;
  3. Financial literacy is negatively associated with the main elements of inclusive growth in the EU, namely poverty, inequality, social exclusion and social immobility.

Financial literacy can therefore help to access the benefits of economic growth and contribute to the agenda for inclusive growth in the EU. Additionally, having a clear knowledge of financial management helps new entrepreneurs to create and sustain innovative startups without running out of cash, even in the case of successful products being sold on the market.

These were the premises that in 2016 prompted a consortium of educational and business organizations to join together to produce innovative educational material in this area.

The partnership was composed of expert educational organizations with consolidated experience in the field of training professionals and entrepreneurs such as CONFORM (Italy), BICERO (Slovenia) and FUNIBER (Spain) and a wide range of business support organizations representing small and medium enterprises: a business incubator, The Hive(Italy) and many networks of enterprises such as SATEAN(Romania), Italian-Luxembourgish Chamber of Commerce (Luxembourg), RES and CBE (both from Belgium). This way the partnership represents large part of the European Union, ensuring a profitable contamination and a more effective dissemination and exploitation of project results.

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At first, the project produced a series of methodological documents to help the partnership and other professionals to better understand the current situation of financial education levels in different countries

These documents paved then the way for the production of the training course, specifically aimed toward the skill gaps emphasized by the research. The Training course was the core product of the project and is a multimedia training course where classic teaching materials such as slides and texts (https://succeed.bicero.com/results/io4-learning-package) are the base support for a more complex learning experience embodied by the Online Course, freely accessible on the project website ( https://succeed.bicero.com/results/IO5-MOOC).

 

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All the teaching materials were tested in two different events, one in Luxembourg and one in Italy, with different teachers and learners, discussing the topics of the project and the pros and flaws of the produced materials. At some point, the partnership was not fully satisfied with the innovation rate of the training materials offered to the public. Thanks to CONFORM's skills and operational capabilities, the consortium wrote and recorded five short episodes of an interactive web series, to help a younger audience to be acquainted with key concepts of financial education, entrepreneurial spirit, cash management and strategic financial thinking. A fun way to understand what kind of skills and competences entrepreneurs and common people must have to navigate the financial world, by living the story of a group of young wannabe entrepreneurs trying to climb up the ladder of success.

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In the light of the results of the project, we are convinced that financial literacy programs must be prepared even for the youngest segment of the European citizens, with particular attention to the weakest part of the population, such as low-income groups or minorities, trying to integrate by creating new businesses.  At the same time, however, it is important to resist information overload, to support more research on financial literacy, in particular on behavioral aspects of financial decision-making, and to increase the participation of the private sector, which is at the forefront of financial education and service provision.

The project also delivered guidelines on how to design, create and implement an innovative use of MOOCS and how to deal with complex elements of teaching on the topic of financial issues teaching. Every product delivered by the project could hopefully be used in the future as the base of more up to date studies on entrepreneurial and financial skills level in Europe. The consortium of the SUCCEED project hopes to have contributed with an impactful amount of innovation to the effort of the European Union to improve the financial literacy level of the common citizens and the entrepreneurs alike.

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