CBA pilots financial illiteracy solution

In an effort to address the financial literacy gap in Australia, the Commonwealth Bank is piloting a program aimed at primary school students.

The Start Smart Virtual Reality program will be tested on roughly 1500 students in 24 schools across Australia in an effort to explore ways of raising financial education levels, the bank said in a statement.

At each of the participating schools, Year 1 or Year 2 students will undertake a Start Smart lesson in their classrooms, after which students will take home a storybook and virtual reality headset to re-visit concepts from the lesson with their parents or carers.

The children’s parents or carers will then be asked to provide feedback on the experience, which will inform the development of future financial education initiatives, CommBank said.

CBA general manager of corporate responsibility Kylie Macfarlane said, “Around 10 percent of Australian 15-year-olds have not reached even a baseline level of financial literacy.

“We also know Australia’s National Financial Literacy Strategy details the importance of parents’ involvement in children's learning about money from an early age, with research indicating that most children form money habits by the time they are seven years old.

“Yet... only about one in six parents with children at home discuss finances with their kids.

“This storybook and virtual reality headset have been designed to address that shortfall and be a catalyst for parents and children to discuss basic financial concepts in a fun and engaging way.”

The pilot is expected to run until the end of November, the bank said.

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