Ontario Launches Pilot To Test Financial Literacy

"A step in the right direction."

That's what the executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada calls a pilot project to test drive a financial literacy course in more than two dozen schools in Ontario.

The program will run at 28 high schools through June to help develop the curriculum for the new course, aimed at equipping students with the skills necessary to succeed in the new global economy.

Jeff Schwartz told AM800's "The Afternoon News" that children need to know about personal finance at a young age. "Learning by trial and error when it comes to finances can be really dangerous because you're putting your livelihood at risk.  If you don't have a good understanding of financial literacy you can make decisions that are really going to potentially damage your credit and drown you in a pool of debt."

"When kids graduate from high school they have no idea how to manage their personal finances," says Schwartz. "Kids going off to university get bombarded from the first day to take out credit cards and they think it's free money because they really haven't had any experience with credit or debt before.  The reality is it's not free money.  It has to be paid back and it's going to cost you more than what you spent."

Ontario's education minister announced last year that financial literacy would become part of the high school career studies course.

Mitzie Hunter says teachers' feedback will be incorporated into the new curriculum design.