But they don’t appear to do much financial training in Shanghai?
One of the report’s most interesting conclusions was that the best way of teaching financial literacy is not necessarily by instruction in the classroom. Far more important as indicators of proficiency were mathematical skills and personal experience with financial products.
So Chinese children, who score very highly on fundamental maths and science, are more likely to understand money-related concepts than those taught directly about banks, credit and interest rates. Countries such as the US or Slovak Republic, which had much higher levels of in-class teaching than Shanghai, performed worse when tested.
Andreas Schleicher, OECD education director, said: “The volume of exposure to financial literacy in the classroom has no relationship with performance. That is very different for maths or science teaching.”
The data also suggest having a bank account or managing phone credits gives a youngster much more opportunity – and motivation – to learn about financial concepts. On average, students in the 13 core OECD economies who held a bank account scored 33 points higher than those who did not.