The growth of digital: Why students would benefit from a greater emphasis on consumer education in the new curriculumn

In Altain Education’s response to the DfE consultation on the new National Curriculum we were very supportive of the proposal to include financial education as part of Citizenship.

We do however consider that there is a need to strengthen proposals on financial education specifically, as well as to extend scope to embrace consumer education more broadly

This is on account of three observed trends:

1. The emergent “Student Consumer”phenomena: This was first talked about in relation to the rise in Higher Education tuition fees. Altain’s perspective is that choices on Education and the world of work relate to some of the the most significant financial decisions of an individuals life. Hence our view that students need to be appreciative of this situation and equipped to make informed decisions at an early stage

2. Digital transformation in education and more widely: The consumer as well as finance landscape is being transformed by new digital technologies and associated business and marketing models. This has benefits but as the OFT investigation into “In app purchases” suggests, risks also. Schools and students could be argued to be at the forefront of this change, both as a consequence of personal ownership and as a consequence of the rapid growth in use of mobile devices in teaching and learning

3. Increased Industry engagement: Industry can be seen to be increasingly engaged in the heart of education. For example development and delivery of the curriculum for computing and financial services. Altain considers this a good thing, but there are risks, such as agenda creep, that require mitigation

Hence the three areas that we suggested for strengthening in particular:

-Support for financial decisions in relation to education choices

-Support for financial self management in relation to marketing over mobile devices

-Marketing awareness in relation to brands and institutions engaged in support of education activity

As part of our submission we provided suggestions for how these proposals can be accomplished within the text of the document

We appreciate that student financial and consumer education is just part of the picture. Action is required on the part of key brands and institutions also. We need to consider the role and educational needs of other key stakeholder groups also, such as parents and teachers

However by also appreciating the bigger picture and responding to the big changes through the curriculum and beyond we can look forward students reaping the benefits early of a new competence in financial and consumer matters, generally and in relation to education specifically.

Further information is available directly from Altain Education contact: geoffhurst@altain.co.uk