By: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohamad Fazli Sabri
SERDANG, Dec 7 – For the first time, the Faculty of Human Ecology (FEM), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), with the cooperation of Kawasan Rukun Tetangga (KRT) Taman Sri Serdang here, held a “Smart Kids, Smart Money” programme in an effort to create a prudent community who could manage their finances wisely.
Head of Programme, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohamad Fazli Sabri said the idea to organize the community-smart money program was mooted following a study that was conducted in 2014 which showed the practice of saving among students in Year 4 and Year 5 was still low.
“The majority of students were not able to differentiate between their needs and wants, and the existence of this debt culture amongst students. In fact, the majority of students said that their parents did not engage them in discussion on family financial matters,” he said.
He added that the statistics that revealed an increasing number of youths who had been declared bankrupt triggered an idea for him to hold this program of knowledge transfer and financial management education for the community, especially children.
“With this program I hope students will be able to gain the knowledge to master the areas of financial management, and are skilful in finance and entrepreneurship,” he said.
To gauge the effectiveness of the programme, participants were assessed in terms of their knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and skills in personal financial management, consumerism, entrepreneurship and sustainable use through pre and post evaluations.
Participants were also assessed through short quizzes conducted on a weekly basis, and evaluated through a number of ongoing activities - saving and pocket money diary.
A series of focus group discussions involving facilitators, participants and parents were held as a way to assess the effectiveness of the programme, he said.
The Smart Money, Smart Kids programme which lasted for four months, was held from November 2016 until February 2017 every Saturday for two hours for a period of 16 weeks. It was conducted by coaches, comprising UPM academic officials and implementing officers, aided by facilitators who were trained UPM students.
The programme modules developed by teaching instructors, comprising programme secretariat, featured 10 basic module units, that is money and history, needs vs. requirements, financial goals, savings and investments, financial institutions in Malaysia, budget and spending, consumerism, credit and debt management, entrepreneurship and sustainable use.
The programme was carried on a face-to- face approach, through weekly classes, training in and outside the classroom, field trips, intensive camps and counselling and continued guidance. The use of learning and teaching support aids in relation to financial education, known as Money Smart Kit: Smart Money Smart Kids innovatively created by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohamad Fazli Sabri and Nurhayatul Nira Ramli were used during the duration of the program. This kit has won 14 awards at national and international levels.
Presently, 33 pupils, aged between 9 and 12 who are members of KRT Taman Sri Serdang, have registered as participants. A ‘Strengthening Programme” for parents will be held once a month.
The programme was funded by the Ministry of Higher Education grant under the Knowledge Transfer Program which is aimed at transferring knowledge, experience, skills and expertise available in universities, particularly in the field of financial education, to the community and target group who were children within the Taman Sri Serdang community.
Meanwhile, the launch and opening of the programme was officiated by Dean of FEM, Prof. Dr. Laily Paim, witnessed by the Director of University Community Transformation Centre (UCTC), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Azlizam UCTC Aziz and Deputy UCTC Director, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Uma Rani Sinnah and KRT Chairman, Saheh Said. - UPM
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