Investing in quality education that equips people with the entrepreneurial and employability skills needed to succeed in the 21st century, whilst ensuring that they are grounded in financial and ethical responsibility, should be a top priority for policy makers and decision makers around the world. This was supported by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the opening of the World Education Forum in Incheon Korea in May 2015 where he argued that every dollar invested in education would generate $10 to $15 in returns. The social, political and economic challenges of the 21st century call for greater global citizenship and this has an important economic dimension related to financial inclusion and Economic Citizenship Education (ECE). While primary schools provide basic literacy and numeracy skills, many children and youth, especially those in less developed countries, fail to complete secondary education. Many do not receive essential employability or functional literacy skills to allow them to successfully secure a meaningful and sustainable livelihood.
Economic Citizenship Education
CYFI’s Theory of Change proposes that, to achieve full economic citizenship, young people need to be financial capable and socially and economically empowered. This is achieved through combining financial inclusion with ECE, an educational learning framework that integrates the three components of financial, social and livelihoods education.
Global Citizenship Education
In an effort to educate the next generation of leaders, workers and inventors, education - both its pedagogy and its learning outcomes - must be adapted to tackle the new challenges faced by children and youth in the 21st century. Global Citizenship Education (GCE) represents a comprehensive move in this direction, emphasizing human rights, conflict resolution, ethical responsibility, creative problem solving and global connectedness. ECE, by extension, represents the economic dimension of global citizenship, ensuring that young people develop financial responsibility and the essential life skills necessary to secure ethical and sustainable livelihoods.
The link between GCE and ECE
The GCE and the ECE frameworks share a common ground when it comes to learning outcomes and core topics. Indeed, ECE pushes for social and life skills education to complement financial literacy and entrepreneurship, ensuring that financial capability and enterprise ventures are developed in an ethically and socially responsible manner.
Economic citizenship is reflected in many of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and their associated targets. ECE provides a cornerstone for lifelong learning opportunities, financial capability and sustainable livelihoods, not to mention providing a foundation for financial and social inclusion. A combination of financial, social and livelihoods education should be an integral part of any education strategy which aims to achieve the ambitious goals and targets of the UN post 2015 development agenda. Two of CYFI’s main partners, Aflatoun and My Financial Coach, are already offering educational materials covering such holistic content. Aflatoun allows young people to explore financial and entrepreneurship skills while becoming socially and economically empowered agents of change in their communities. My Finance Coach equips young people with the skills and abilities necessary for an informed and responsible approach to financial and business matters.
Thanks to the Millennium Development Goals, more children have completed school and there is a greater demand for quality education. It is not only in terms of educational level, but a real concern about the remaining gap between the education delivered and the skills required for employability at the local, national, and international level. Therefore, there is a real need for economic citizenship that takes root in the sustainable development of our environment and global economy. All national stakeholders should be involved in economic citizenship, including financial institutions and civil society. Economic citizenship must be considered as a tangible way of boosting long-term economic growth and establishing life-long returns for the children and youth.
Eva Lestant is an 18 years old student of Economics and Finance in France with a keen interest in intercultural learning. She has been involved with many NGOs, UN Conferences and recently served as an intern in the Global Engagement and Evaluation Department at CYFI.
This blog is the eigth in a series of summer blog articles related to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and are authored by youth interns at Child & Youth Finance International. Join the discussion on social media by following @ChildFinance and using the hashtag #cyfiyouth.