Manulife Hong Kong has announced the full launch of its "FinKids Academy" programme in conjunction with its community partner St James' Settlement (SJS), an initiative that uses innovative technology to help under-resourced children improve their financial literacy, technology know-how and skills to be ready for the hybrid financial world of the future.
The "FinKids Academy" programme runs under Manulife's "Go Paperless Education Aid Program" and follows a successful pilot that ran from March to May this year. The programme will benefit more than 600 primary school students from 24 local schools providing more than 10,000 learning hours in total.
The programme aims to support the children by equipping them with essential skills and knowledge through 10 in-depth workshops that cover topics such as fintech, basic coding, digital money, budgeting, the metaverse and more. Immersive STEM field trips and inter-school sharing sessions will also take place to provide them with a unique and impactful learning experience.
"Driving inclusive economic opportunities is a key part of Manulife's Impact Agenda to create a more even playing field for all. We strive to bring long-term positive impact to the community by leveraging our expertise and network to raise the standard of financial literacy," said Mr Calvin Chiu, Manulife's Head of Asia Retirement. "With the continuous support of SJS, Manulife hopes to continue promoting children's understanding of financial concepts with the use of emerging technologies, helping them to make better financial decisions in the future."
The launch is accompanied by the release of a new survey that reveals misconceptions about digital wallets and a lack of awareness about the importance of saving among Hong Kong's younger generation. The survey was distributed in June by SJS, with the results based on interviews with 325 primary school students.
Nearly a quarter of the students thought their money will never be used up (23%), and 18% said they believed their parents' income will not change after retirement. In addition, over half (57%) are not sure about how much they spent on average in a month. Close to two-thirds (62%) said they are not sure about the balance of their digital wallet and a third (33%) did not even know where the money in their digital wallet comes from.
In addition, the survey indicates a need to educate the students about the importance of savings for the future. Close to a third (29%) said they do not know how to save money. More than a half said their parents have not talked to them about their retirement plan (57%) and their source of income after retirement (57%).
Ms Josephine Lee, Chief Executive Officer of St James' Settlement, said, "We can see there's a clear need to help the next generation develop their financial literacy if they are to smoothly navigate the hybrid world without undue risk or loss. We look forward to continuing our work with Manulife to benefit the wider community and prepare young people to be able to manage financially in the future."
C.C.C. Chuen Yuen First Primary School was one of first schools to join the pilot in March, along with Ching Chung Hau Po Woon Primary School. Commenting on the pilot phase of the programme earlier this year, Zhow Wong Ying, student at C.C.C. Chuen Yuen First Primary School, said, "I looked forward to the lessons because they were very inspiring and a lot of fun, particularly the virtual reality activities. I learned about why and how to save money, and am trying to do that with my pocket money."