Social investment: commitment to chilhood education
We live in a very complex world where changes are constant. Those who do not have access to information simply remain on the sidelines and this generates inequalities that are very difficult to combat if you do not have solid foundations established in childhood. Investing in education is knowing that the society you are going to have will be more and better prepared to face the changes and also the different types of problems.
In developed countries, we are often unaware of such basic questions as not having access to the Internet to be able to look for what is unknown, but in the poorer countries this ignorance turns into the worst of their enemies.
In the so-called First World countries, what often happens is that people believe they know about things, but this is not always the case and, especially in areas such as finance, it has been more than proven that their decisions are usually more influenced by others than by solid knowledge. And yes, finances are important for any country and for any family.
Although money is not everything, it does contribute to development and, in turn, to well-being. It is estimated that 38% of adults around the world have no access to financial services, a percentage that is even higher in countries with fewer resources. Only through financial inclusion can poverty be fought and prosperity brought to any corner of the planet; and it is here where committed banks like Santander decide not to stay on the sidelines, but to take a step forward and not only think about their accounts but also about the people behind them and those who are to come, wagering on a financial education from the base, in the schools themselves.
Impact of financial inclusion
We tend to think in a very individual way and without seeing much beyond our borders. Actually, this is normal because at the end of the day everyone holds on to what directly affects them, but we must not forget that now everything and everyone is connected. According to data from the World Bank, the impact of financial inclusion could translate, within 10 years, into an increase in wealth of 3.19 billion euros in emerging economies, which of course would have an impact on the entire planet, and also the rich countries, which would sell more products and services.
Simply having access to financial services directly influences such everyday things as being able to plan short and long-term goals, saving, learning to invest or being able to count on a cushion for the future or for retirement. But, for all this, citizens have to know what kind of services and products are within their reach and how to take advantage of them at every moment in the best way.
"Only through financial inclusion can poverty be fought and prosperity brought to any corner of the planet"
Banco Santander’s commitment
It is in this context that the big banks, beyond what they can or cannot invoice, decide to commit to education and carry out very concrete actions. In the case of Santander, we can say that its lines of action are three: firstly, they want to inform society about finances, and especially the young and immigrants, since these are those who tend to be more disoriented on this issue; secondly, they guarantee access to credit to those who are not yet part of the financial system; and, thirdly and lastly, they create concrete products for the needs of each group.
What is achieved with this financial education is that citizens have clearer economic concepts. This, in turn, leads to greater transparency and generates confidence, and this is how it is easier to make economic decisions.
Financial education in schools developed by Santander
We talk about projects such as the Escola Brasil Programme or the Santander MoneyWise, in which it is the very grant holders, employees and family members who talk about financial education in schools. In the United Kingdom, for example, the Santander Centres of Excellence are used to finance a programme with the aim of promoting the integration of financial education in schools; this is also the case of the Portugal Programme, or the Construamos Nuestros Sueños in Argentina or the United States ... all sharing the same goal.
In Spain they have a most interesting programme called Finanzas para mortales [Finance for mortals] where what is intended is to train those in danger of exclusion and the young so that they have clear financial concepts that they will need in their daily lives. They have also opted for the Tus finanzas, tu futuro [Your finances, your future] programme where they try to make the youngest (13 to 15 years old) see the importance of taking responsibility for their finances as soon as possible for their future well-being.
"Financial education has to be explained in an integrative way, which makes the student perceive it as something useful and not mere concepts or isolated numbers, as it will be vital for the individual"
Financial education must start at school
Financial education must start from primary school itself because they are issues that will affect us in everyday life. It must also be explained in a way that is integrating, making the student perceive it as something useful and not mere concepts or isolated numbers, as it will be "vital for the individual", as pointed out by Eugenio Luque, dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of the University of Málaga.
Luque also assures that, in most cases, the economic information that comes through the media is wrong or biased and that without the rigour, the average citizen can overestimate the economic knowledge they really have, something that will not occur if they have been trained before.