Toronto Youth Cabinet working to improve financial literacy in Ontario

News Nov 16, 2016 by Tara Hatherly East York Mirror

The Toronto Youth Cabinet wants to ensure everyone in Ontario graduates high school knowing how to budget, manage debt, file taxes and purchase property.

And the group, the official youth advisory board of the City of Toronto, has convinced Ontario’s Ministry of Education to make it happen.

“I think it’s something that a lot of youth have been talking about for a while, that they don’t feel that they are learning life skills in the current education system,” said Toronto Youth Cabinet (TYC) member Prakash Amarasooriya, who is representing the group’s initiative to have a clearly defined financial literacy component added to Ontario’s Grade 10 career studies course.

“If students are aware of how to use basic financial tools as well as how to think long-term early, I think you’ll create smarter citizens, which creates a stronger economy for the Province of Ontario.”

In October, the TYC started a petition asking the Province to make the change. According to the Ministry, financial literacy is already dispersed throughout various courses between Grades 4 and 12.

“I think there may be a disconnect between what is intended with the curriculum as well as what is actually being done at school,” Amarasooriya told Metroland Media Tuesday, Oct. 25, ahead of a meeting with Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter at Queen’s Park Tuesday, Nov. 1.

He believes the curriculum’s current references to financial literacy are too vague.

“We don’t think it’s being done as effectively as it can be,” he said. “Ideally, I think we wanted it to be incorporated in multiple courses, just like the government, but we wanted it to at least be in one specific course, because that way you can train teachers as well.

"Teachers have been complaining that they’re not being trained to teach this subject material. So if they don’t feel confident in it, they will not teach students well. And so if you put it into the Grade 10 careers course curriculum, you can train teachers to deliver that material in a competent and confident way.”

In a recent statement, recognizing November as financial literacy month, The Ministry of Education noted it has spent more than $3 million on financial literacy resources and professional learning opportunities for elementary and high school teachers since 2011.

Amarasooriya said incorporating the material into the Grade 10 career studies course makes sense because the course is mandatory, so all students would get the knowledge they need to succeed financially. It also comes at a time when students are starting to use bank accounts and preparing to apply for student and car loans, and credit cards, in the near future.

He believes the topic can be added to the current course without sacrificing anything from its curriculum. The course currently focuses on developing self-assessment, personal-management, career-planning, job-search, decision-making, organization, transition and communication skills.

Some schools bring in financial literacy experts to teach students skills, noted Amarasooriya, adding, “The problem with that is that that only applies to some schools, and more than not it’s the affluent neighbourhoods.”

He didn’t know what to expect when he met with Minister Hunter, but he and the TYC were thrilled to find she and the Ministry of Education want to work with the group to make its vision a reality.

“I’m still in disbelief about it,” he said, following the meeting. “It was a great meeting and a productive one. We just want to make sure going forward that we don’t lose sight of the objective and that we actually create meaningful change in the curriculum.”

The TYC is excited to work with the Ministry to develop a curriculum, he added. The group is doing its homework and consulting with relevant parties to see what resources are available to aid curriculum development and how financial literacy is taught in other parts of Canada.

“We appreciate the feedback we received from members of the Toronto Youth Cabinet and will continue to work with educators, parents and students to inform next steps in curriculum review,” said Minister Hunter in a statement emailed to Metroland Media. “By learning about financial literacy, students will have the skills they need to thrive now and throughout the rest of their lives.”

On Nov. 3, Minister Hunter posted a video to Twitter captioned, “Hey @TOYouthCabinet, I hear you on #FinLit! Good news: We’re improving financial literacy for students.”

In the video, she talks about the importance of financial literacy for ensuring student success and economic strength.

“Ensuring that students have the information that they need for everyday life is critical,” she said. “We will be updating the Ontario curriculum careers course to have a dedicated module for financial literacy.”

Visit http://bit.ly/2fC3ipu to read the TYC petition and proposal. Amarasooriya encouraged people to weigh in on developing a financial literacy curriculum by commenting on the petition page noting what they would like included.

Toronto Youth Cabinet working to improve financial literacy in Ontario

Students convince minister to make money matters part of the school curriculum

News Nov 16, 2016 by Tara Hatherly East York Mirror

The Toronto Youth Cabinet wants to ensure everyone in Ontario graduates high school knowing how to budget, manage debt, file taxes and purchase property.

And the group, the official youth advisory board of the City of Toronto, has convinced Ontario’s Ministry of Education to make it happen.

“I think it’s something that a lot of youth have been talking about for a while, that they don’t feel that they are learning life skills in the current education system,” said Toronto Youth Cabinet (TYC) member Prakash Amarasooriya, who is representing the group’s initiative to have a clearly defined financial literacy component added to Ontario’s Grade 10 career studies course.

“If students are aware of how to use basic financial tools as well as how to think long-term early, I think you’ll create smarter citizens, which creates a stronger economy for the Province of Ontario.”

Related Content

In October, the TYC started a petition asking the Province to make the change. According to the Ministry, financial literacy is already dispersed throughout various courses between Grades 4 and 12.

“I think there may be a disconnect between what is intended with the curriculum as well as what is actually being done at school,” Amarasooriya told Metroland Media Tuesday, Oct. 25, ahead of a meeting with Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter at Queen’s Park Tuesday, Nov. 1.

He believes the curriculum’s current references to financial literacy are too vague.

“We don’t think it’s being done as effectively as it can be,” he said. “Ideally, I think we wanted it to be incorporated in multiple courses, just like the government, but we wanted it to at least be in one specific course, because that way you can train teachers as well.

"Teachers have been complaining that they’re not being trained to teach this subject material. So if they don’t feel confident in it, they will not teach students well. And so if you put it into the Grade 10 careers course curriculum, you can train teachers to deliver that material in a competent and confident way.”

In a recent statement, recognizing November as financial literacy month, The Ministry of Education noted it has spent more than $3 million on financial literacy resources and professional learning opportunities for elementary and high school teachers since 2011.

Amarasooriya said incorporating the material into the Grade 10 career studies course makes sense because the course is mandatory, so all students would get the knowledge they need to succeed financially. It also comes at a time when students are starting to use bank accounts and preparing to apply for student and car loans, and credit cards, in the near future.

He believes the topic can be added to the current course without sacrificing anything from its curriculum. The course currently focuses on developing self-assessment, personal-management, career-planning, job-search, decision-making, organization, transition and communication skills.

Some schools bring in financial literacy experts to teach students skills, noted Amarasooriya, adding, “The problem with that is that that only applies to some schools, and more than not it’s the affluent neighbourhoods.”

He didn’t know what to expect when he met with Minister Hunter, but he and the TYC were thrilled to find she and the Ministry of Education want to work with the group to make its vision a reality.

“I’m still in disbelief about it,” he said, following the meeting. “It was a great meeting and a productive one. We just want to make sure going forward that we don’t lose sight of the objective and that we actually create meaningful change in the curriculum.”

The TYC is excited to work with the Ministry to develop a curriculum, he added. The group is doing its homework and consulting with relevant parties to see what resources are available to aid curriculum development and how financial literacy is taught in other parts of Canada.

“We appreciate the feedback we received from members of the Toronto Youth Cabinet and will continue to work with educators, parents and students to inform next steps in curriculum review,” said Minister Hunter in a statement emailed to Metroland Media. “By learning about financial literacy, students will have the skills they need to thrive now and throughout the rest of their lives.”

On Nov. 3, Minister Hunter posted a video to Twitter captioned, “Hey @TOYouthCabinet, I hear you on #FinLit! Good news: We’re improving financial literacy for students.”

In the video, she talks about the importance of financial literacy for ensuring student success and economic strength.

“Ensuring that students have the information that they need for everyday life is critical,” she said. “We will be updating the Ontario curriculum careers course to have a dedicated module for financial literacy.”

Visit http://bit.ly/2fC3ipu to read the TYC petition and proposal. Amarasooriya encouraged people to weigh in on developing a financial literacy curriculum by commenting on the petition page noting what they would like included.

Toronto Youth Cabinet working to improve financial literacy in Ontario

Students convince minister to make money matters part of the school curriculum

News Nov 16, 2016 by Tara Hatherly East York Mirror

The Toronto Youth Cabinet wants to ensure everyone in Ontario graduates high school knowing how to budget, manage debt, file taxes and purchase property.

And the group, the official youth advisory board of the City of Toronto, has convinced Ontario’s Ministry of Education to make it happen.

“I think it’s something that a lot of youth have been talking about for a while, that they don’t feel that they are learning life skills in the current education system,” said Toronto Youth Cabinet (TYC) member Prakash Amarasooriya, who is representing the group’s initiative to have a clearly defined financial literacy component added to Ontario’s Grade 10 career studies course.

“If students are aware of how to use basic financial tools as well as how to think long-term early, I think you’ll create smarter citizens, which creates a stronger economy for the Province of Ontario.”

Related Content

In October, the TYC started a petition asking the Province to make the change. According to the Ministry, financial literacy is already dispersed throughout various courses between Grades 4 and 12.

“I think there may be a disconnect between what is intended with the curriculum as well as what is actually being done at school,” Amarasooriya told Metroland Media Tuesday, Oct. 25, ahead of a meeting with Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter at Queen’s Park Tuesday, Nov. 1.

He believes the curriculum’s current references to financial literacy are too vague.

“We don’t think it’s being done as effectively as it can be,” he said. “Ideally, I think we wanted it to be incorporated in multiple courses, just like the government, but we wanted it to at least be in one specific course, because that way you can train teachers as well.

"Teachers have been complaining that they’re not being trained to teach this subject material. So if they don’t feel confident in it, they will not teach students well. And so if you put it into the Grade 10 careers course curriculum, you can train teachers to deliver that material in a competent and confident way.”

In a recent statement, recognizing November as financial literacy month, The Ministry of Education noted it has spent more than $3 million on financial literacy resources and professional learning opportunities for elementary and high school teachers since 2011.

Amarasooriya said incorporating the material into the Grade 10 career studies course makes sense because the course is mandatory, so all students would get the knowledge they need to succeed financially. It also comes at a time when students are starting to use bank accounts and preparing to apply for student and car loans, and credit cards, in the near future.

He believes the topic can be added to the current course without sacrificing anything from its curriculum. The course currently focuses on developing self-assessment, personal-management, career-planning, job-search, decision-making, organization, transition and communication skills.

Some schools bring in financial literacy experts to teach students skills, noted Amarasooriya, adding, “The problem with that is that that only applies to some schools, and more than not it’s the affluent neighbourhoods.”

He didn’t know what to expect when he met with Minister Hunter, but he and the TYC were thrilled to find she and the Ministry of Education want to work with the group to make its vision a reality.

“I’m still in disbelief about it,” he said, following the meeting. “It was a great meeting and a productive one. We just want to make sure going forward that we don’t lose sight of the objective and that we actually create meaningful change in the curriculum.”

The TYC is excited to work with the Ministry to develop a curriculum, he added. The group is doing its homework and consulting with relevant parties to see what resources are available to aid curriculum development and how financial literacy is taught in other parts of Canada.

“We appreciate the feedback we received from members of the Toronto Youth Cabinet and will continue to work with educators, parents and students to inform next steps in curriculum review,” said Minister Hunter in a statement emailed to Metroland Media. “By learning about financial literacy, students will have the skills they need to thrive now and throughout the rest of their lives.”

On Nov. 3, Minister Hunter posted a video to Twitter captioned, “Hey @TOYouthCabinet, I hear you on #FinLit! Good news: We’re improving financial literacy for students.”

In the video, she talks about the importance of financial literacy for ensuring student success and economic strength.

“Ensuring that students have the information that they need for everyday life is critical,” she said. “We will be updating the Ontario curriculum careers course to have a dedicated module for financial literacy.”

Visit http://bit.ly/2fC3ipu to read the TYC petition and proposal. Amarasooriya encouraged people to weigh in on developing a financial literacy curriculum by commenting on the petition page noting what they would like included.