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Manitoba Students To Learn Financial Literacy and Management in New Pilot Program

In the coming 2023-24 school year, 1,500 students in select Manitoba schools will learn financial literacy and management in a pilot program delivered by Enriched Academy.

Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko says with uncertain interest rates, inflation, and supply chain issues, financial literacy skills are becoming increasingly relevant.

“Providing resources that support the acquisition of high school credits that address practical knowledge and skills that young people need for adult living is a key recommendation in the final report of the Manitoba Commission on Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education.”

Unfortunately, many of us don’t learn the basics of money. Co-founder of Enriched Academy, Kevin Cochran, was one such individual. After graduating high school in Toronto, Cochran found himself $20,000 in credit card debt, ending up in severe financial trouble as he never understood finances. Fortunately, Cochran met a mentor who taught him the skills to become financially independent, gave him a job, and encouraged him to give back. This started Cochran on the path to providing the tools and knowledge people needed to thrive. First, he started by educating students at his old high school and eventually co-founding Enriched Academy, whose programs have helped more than 350,000 Canadian students.

Kevin McCarthy, head of corporations and institutions at Enriched Academy, says they’ve been connecting and collaborating with some of the largest organizations in Canada, including provincial governments, businesses, unions, high schools, police associations, colleges and universities. Last year, Enriched Academy worked with several teachers in Manitoba who utilized our programs for some of their courses. After this, the Academy contacted the Manitoba government early this year, proposing the potential pilot. This continues a long track record working with provincial bodies.

“In Prince Edward Island, we’re working with every grade 10 student, and they’ve incorporated our program into their grade 10 careers course. In Alberta, we’ve been working with the government for three years. Every division in the province has our program. Last year we reached 150,000 students in Alberta. In Ontario, we’re working with 20 school boards directly.”

The pilot program coming to Manitoba will be similar in concept to the one brought to Alberta three years ago. The pilot, designed for high school students, will include multiple modules which cover the basics of why is learning about money important, misconceptions people have surrounding money, what credit is, budgeting, and the importance of and how to invest. According to McCarthy, this module series covers financial literacy essentials and includes tools and assignments for teachers to implement.

“The way this will work is for teachers teaching, most likely personal finances or one of the essential math courses. There are a number of financial outcomes in those courses, and we’re hoping teachers will join the pilot and use it as a resource to get students excited about money and the importance of learning financial skills.”

For local teachers, continued resources that prepare students for the realities of life are greatly needed.

“Financial literacy is one of the most important skills students develop through high school. With money being one of the top stressors in a person’s life, providing students with the opportunity to learn and strengthen their understanding of money, finances, and factors affecting financial well-being will allow them to have the knowledge to make the best (financial) decision for themselves,” says Angela Kaisser, a teacher at Louis Riel School Division. “Enriched Academy provides a multi-faceted learning platform that can be incorporated into curriculum in a variety of ways and allows students to learn at their own pace, providing a springboard for classroom discussions, activities and inquiry. It provides the most current Canadian content and is a road map that sets students on their successful personal finance journey.”

Teachers looking to learn more about the program can find materials on Enriched Academy’s website.

– Ryan Funk, U Multicultural

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