Are secondary students graduating with the financial skills they require?

  • Natalie Eve Davis

    Student thesis: Masters by Research - CDU


    Given the state of the world economy, never has there been a more pertinent time in history to address financial literacy education. Research from debt agencies and financial institutions show that many young people are experiencing financial difficulties; this situation is unlikely to improve without teaching financial skills. This research explores the extent to which the Queensland Senior Curriculum is preparing young people to operate in a financially literate manner when they leave school.

    To establish the extent of personal financial skills gained during the senior high school years, a number of high school graduates (n=24) were interviewed to determine to what extent the senior school system prepared them to make financial decisions in the years immediately after leaving school. In addition, graduates’ views of their experiences during and post senior schooling provided an opportunity to identify the types of financial literacy skills actually being taught in Queensland schools.

    A small group of eight teachers was also interviewed to gain a picture of the extent to which financial skills are taught within senior subjects. In addition, expert reviews commissioned by the Queensland Studies Authority into the effectiveness of the Senior Curriculum were studied to examine the degree to which experts believe the Curriculum prepares students or should prepare them for life after school. Finally, a Financial Literacy Seminar was held for Year 12 students at one Brisbane high school. The Seminar was an important event during the research because it sought the views of senior students, providing them with an opportunity to provide feedback regarding the value of financial literacy and the design of financial literacy as a proposed subject for senior students.

    Findings from the study showed that Queensland high school graduates do not appear to be graduating with the skills to operate in a financially literate manner in contemporary society. Specifically, very few financial life skills are currently specified in Queensland’s Senior Curriculum Framework or in schools’ senior work programs despite teachers and graduates acknowledging the need for financial education. In the light of this key finding, a number of recommendations regarding the teaching of financial literacy and the protection of young consumers have been made.

    Date of AwardAug 2010
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorGreg Shaw (Supervisor)

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