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Beyond the classroom


It used to be that school was about reading, writing and arithmetic. Now in the age of computers and technology that changes by the minute, the classroom is a much different place.

It used to be that school was about reading, writing and arithmetic. Now in the age of computers and technology that changes by the minute, the classroom is a much different place.

Smartboards have replaced chalkboards. Learning cursive/handwriting is not the priority it used to be. The “new math” continues to make parents of primary and elementary students feel inadequate.

During a recent visit to Lewisporte Collegiate it was noted that as part of a Career course, students were learning the value of a dollar. They learn how far a paycheque will take them after you take into account food, rent/mortgage, transportation, childcare, loan repayment, insurance, RRSP’s, RESP’s — you know, the fun stuff. That cheque can only stretch so far and sometimes — many times — the fun stuff like travel, clothes and entertainment lose out to the need to be responsible.

Teaching these students this important lesson now is a reality check that most of us don’t realize until we enter the working world and see just how far a weekly or bi-weekly salary will take you. By then some people are so bogged down by student loans and credit card debt that they are facing an uphill battle.

Speaking of credit cards, there should be a course alone of how these little pieces of persuasive plastic can become a beast of burden. Dishing out credit cards to post-secondary students just doesn’t seem to make financial sense, especially when they don’t have the information to understand how to properly use them.

Before long these high school students who went through their post-secondary education wracking up debt will be let loose on the real world. They’ll start their careers, meet the love of their lives, settle down, have 1.4 children and live happily ever after. Or so they thought.

Real life demands real responsibility and comes with real consequences. Learning in high school how to manage a household budget is something male and female students could benefit from. How often do marriages fail or become stressful due to financial strain? The statistics show that it happens far more often than we would care to imagine — up to 50 per cent of the time. That’s one in two marriages that will fail because their finances have eaten a hole in their relationship. Often times their financial mess could have been avoided if they had the proper knowledge and tools to successfully manage their finances. Teaching these financial skills in high school is not rocket science and it shouldn’t be an elective. If it’s not something happening in schools, it is something parents should be stressing at home. Being financially literate is a life skill that will pay dividends in the long run.

 

—   Karen Wells

editor@pilotnl.ca

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