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The financial literacy skills of South Africa's youth are set to get a major boost with the launch on July 25 of Teach Children to Save South Africa (TCTS SA) initiative.
The initiative is a pilot project of the Banking Association South Africa (Basa) and supported by the Department of Education.
According to Basa, the initiative intends taking the lead in educating children on the importance of saving.
The project will demonstrate the commitment that local financial institutions have in developing the financial literacy of our youth.
Next Friday, volunteer bankers and financial sector professionals will deliver a one-hour lesson to schools across the country on why saving is important, how to design a budget, the difference between needs and wants and how interest makes money grow.
Basa says the role of professionals in delivering the one-hour sessions is critical to inspire Grade 4 to Grade 7 pupils to become life-long savers.
At the launch of Savings Month 2008 in Sandton recently, the South African Savings Institute (Sasi) chairman, Elias Masilela, said this year's savings month would focus on the youth.
"Our motto for Savings Month 2008 is 'Ligotjwa lisase manzi' which is a Zulu saying meaning that if you want to shape a stick, you will do it best whilst it is still moist."
The launch of TCTS SA comes at a time when saving levels in the country are at their lowest. That is why Basa, Sasi and other stakeholders are adopting education as a core strategy in making pupils understand the importance of saving.
Basa believes that the overall goal of the initiative is to instil in children a culture of saving.
"TCTS SA is intended to be a one-day national initiative designed to highlight the importance of teaching the country's youth about saving," says Cas Coovadia, Basa's managing director.
"The aims of the programme are to inculcate a culture of saving, encourage volunteerism and promote collaboration at industry level on consumer education and financial literacy."
Coovadia says his association wants to help pupils to understand the relationship between saving and the achievement of personal financial goals.
The initiative will also help youth appreciate the power of choice and that when you are able to determine your own destiny through judicious savings, then you are truly free, says the Basa.
Banks interested in participating in the TCTS SA programme can obtain more information and tool kits from www.banking.org.za or www.savingsinstitute.co.za or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to be assigned a school.
Coovadia says the initiative is a new one-day global initiative designed to put the spotlight on the importance of teaching youth about saving.
The programme was founded by the Washington DC-based American Bankers Association Education Foundation (ABAEF) in 1997.
South Africa, Mexico and Turkey have been identified to pilot the initiative.
Other partners are Sasi, Citi Bank, the American Bankers Association and various trade associations in the financial sector.