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Driving Financial Literacy in the Classroom

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Empowering Youth with Future Skills through CSR

Shah Alam, 20 November 2019: The Securities Industry Dispute Resolution Center (SIDREC), in collaboration with Bursa Malaysia, the Private Pension Administrator (PPA) Malaysia and UOW Malaysia KDU, recently completed the second instalment of a pilot project aimed at increasing the capital market and financial literacy of students through the undergraduate programme’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) course. The objectives of this initiative were achieved through not just classroom lectures and tutorials, but also the creative use of digital media and the incorporation of out-of-the-box marketing and promotional strategies in a competition towards the end of the course.

According to Tung An Gie, Senior Lecturer at UOW Malaysia KDU’s School of Communication and Creative Arts (SCCA), this pilot project is possibly the first initiative of its kind in Malaysia, which integrated elements of capital market and financial literacy into the university college’s undergraduate CSR course. The first instalment was successfully completed in the first quarter of 2019.

The objective of this CSR programme, Tung said, is to provide students with a holistic understanding of the investment eco-system, specifically the capital market, with a central theme of saving and investing for their future — through the stock exchange and PPA’s Private Retirement Schemes (PRS). That’s not all. And should they run into trouble with their market intermediaries — particularly a monetary loss in the course of investing through no fault of their own — they know they can seek redress through SIDREC.

“The purpose of bringing all three parties (Bursa Malaysia, PPA Malaysia and UOW Malaysia KDU) together to create a capital market and financial literacy programme is to bring the CSR course to another level,” Tung added. “It was very challenging in the beginning to change the mindset of the students as majority of them came from different disciplines and had assumed CSR to involve only environmental and philanthropic issues. But after listening to their presentations, I am happy to see that these students showed tremendous effort in developing their awareness campaigns and videos that were both engaging and educational, and not to mention, some were very entertaining.”

A competition was held at the end of the semester for students to exhibit their understanding of what they have learned in the 12-week course — the capital market eco-system, the role of the respective stakeholders and how they work together — through an awareness campaign proposal and the production of a video to promote saving and investing as well as retirement preparedness, and SIDREC’s redress platform.

Out of 16 teams in the class, Tung said only six were shortlisted to present their ideas to a panel of judges comprising A. A. Deepa, Vice-President of Investor & Channel Management for Securities Market, Bursa Malaysia, Hong Siew Lai, Acting CEO of SIDREC, Husaini Hussin, CEO of PPA Malaysia, and Loo Chong Hang, Head of UOW Malaysia KDU’s SCCA.

“Financial literacy is a step-by-step process,” Husaini pointed out. “It begins at childhood and continues throughout a person’s life all the way to retirement. Accentuating the importance of investment in students is, therefore, especially critical because they will carry this knowledge with them for the rest of their lives.

“It will equip them with sufficient knowledge that would help them make proper financial decisions,” Husaini added. “I believe it is important for a competition like this to be organised to create awareness on the importance of financial literacy to ensure that they (the students) have a secured future. In addition, competitions like this not only educate the younger generation in terms of knowledge, but also build their confidence, sharpen their soft skills and allow them to explore their creativity which stimulates higher order thinking skills.”

“I believe this initiative has benefited the students as there has been an increase in the capital market investment especially in Bursa Malaysia from the youth segment,” said Bursa Malaysia’s Deepa. “The younger generation do not really see the importance of saving and investing and it is therefore important to increase awareness of financial literacy to ensure they have a more secured future. 

“This collaboration has provided Bursa Malaysia with an opportunity to come to UOW Malaysia KDU and give the students an overview of what is Bursa Malaysia,” Deepa said. “We get to see first-hand if they understood what we do here at Bursa Malaysia. To date, it has been encouraging.”

“This collaboration with UOW Malaysia KDU, Bursa Malaysia and PPA Malaysia has created an awareness for the SIDREC brand by reaching out to a younger target market,” said SIDREC’s Hong. “From an outreach perspective, our job at SIDREC is teaching the investor to be more empowered in that they have a redress platform to rely on if they have a complaint against their financial service provider. This will give them more confidence to invest in the various capital market products.”

“It is hoped the knowledge imparted to the students through this CSR project will have a compounding effect in that students will, in turn, promote their awareness of the capital market, investing, retirement planning and SIDREC’s services to their family members,” said Steven K C Poh, SIDREC’s Head of Corporate Communication and proposer of the project.

The winning teams of the competition walked away with prizes worth a total of RM9,000 in the form of MPH book vouchers sponsored by Bursa Malaysia and SIDREC and PRS treats sponsored by PPA Malaysia.

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