Financial management for more than 700 high school and university students

Published: 6/4/2016

From 14 to 18 March 2016, on the occasion of marking the fifth Global and the second European Money Week, the Croatian National Bank organised lectures for over 700 high school and university students from different parts of the Republic of Croatia, with the aim of increasing the level of financial literacy among youth. Students were advised about the importance of making an informed decision on the use of banking services and a sustainable approach to personal finance. They were also informed in more detail about the basic elements of financial operations: transaction accounts as well as deposit, credit and electronic transactions. Students also learned about the legal framework for the operation of the central bank in the area of consumer protection, as well as about the regulation that binds credit institutions to inform consumers by means of defined forms before the actual contracting of a specific banking service. Since the Global Money Week 2016 theme is "Take part. Save smart!", which advocates saving for youth, leaflets with information on saving and educational booklets with coin samples were handed out to students during lectures.

The marking of the Money Week at the Croatian National Bank began with the participation of Vicegovernor Bojan Fras at the round table "Financial literacy and the youth" held on 14 March 2016.  The round table was organised by the Ministry of Finance, the coordinator of all of the activities in the area of financial literacy in the Republic of Croatia, in cooperation with the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, Croatian National Bank, Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency, Croatian Banking Association, Croatian Insurance Bureau, Croatian Employers' Association, Croatian Chamber of Economy,  Association of Pension Fund Management Companies and Pension Insurance Companies and Zagreb Stock Exchange. All of the above institutions used this opportunity to announce their activities by which they marked this year's Global and European Money Week.

The public debate "Student loans – yes or no", which was held on 16 March in cooperation with the Croatian Debate Society, was the central activity of the Global Money Week celebration. The winners of the debate were representatives of the negative group, and the conclusion of all the present was that there was a justified need to introduce basic financial education into the Croatian educational system to achieve a better understanding of the available services.

On 17 March, the Vicegovernor of the CNB, Bojan Fras, attended the panel discussion "Financial Literacy: What policies and measures can increase the level of financial literacy in Croatia". Vicegovernor Fras said that as the CNB recognised the importance of youth education a long time ago, for the past fifteen years it has organised high school and university students' visits to the CNB. However, the example of the student debate held at the CNB the day before, in which students expressed their distrust with regard to banks, shows that young people have their attitudes about money and financial services, although these attitudes do not result from their own user experience or from financial education, Vicegovernor Fras concluded. He also added that it is important that young people also learn the basic terminology of public finance and know what the budget, deficit or public debt are, before they can influence social developments by exercising their voting right.

On the same day, 17 March in Dubrovnik, at the FORCA (Financijsko obrazovanje – razumna cjeloživotna aktivnost) 2016 Symposium on financial education as part of lifelong learning, the Director of the Consumer Protection Monitoring Office, Ms Snježana Levar, presented the results of the recent survey "Measuring Financial Literacy" conducted using the methodology of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The Symposium was organized by the Department of Economics and Business Economics of the University of Dubrovnik and was attended by more than 300 high school and university students from Dubrovnik.

The Global Money Week is the initiative, which was first celebrated in 2012, and since 2015, the European Money Week has also been marked for the first time. The objective of both events is to raise awareness of the importance of financial literacy and financial education of youth at the global and European level.