It is Citi’s ambition to improve access to financial knowledge for those currently without awareness of financial issues, providing them with the tools they need to improve their financial position.
In Greece, Citi supports the implementation of financial education schemes for children in primary and secondary school, working in close collaboration with respected agencies in the educational field.
Economy: Knowledge with Value
The Financial Education Programme for primary school students is unique in the Greek education system and was designed, at the prompting of Citi, by the Hellenic Children’s Museum. By May 2012 the Programme had already passed the milestone figure of 50,000 primary school children; it completed its eighth year with a total of 54,000 children having been served by the programme since 2005.
The intention of the programme is to familiarize primary school children with fundamental economic concepts they will meet in everyday life, helping them to become financially aware citizens who can handle their finances sensibly and efficiently.
The children are familiarized with everyday financial concepts through role play and with the help of special instructors. Depending on their age and ability, they learn to distinguish ‘wants’ from ‘needs’, to act as responsible consumers and to discuss such issues as unemployment, state borrowing, the European Union, etc.
More than 550 volunteers – Citi employees – have participated in the role-playing activities since the Programme was set up, helping the specialist instructors from the Hellenic Children’s Museum to conduct the lessons.
In our educational programmes for secondary school students we work with the organization Junior Achievement Greece (SEN), which is dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship among young people. Citi is one of the main sponsors of SEN’s Virtual Business programme, in which teams of 15-20 youngsters set up their own student business, creating an innovative, environmentally friendly product or service, often something involving service to the community, with the help of a teacher and a business executive.
As they run their ‘own’ student business, the young people assume a range of business roles and learn to develop a variety of skills, including negotiation, communication, problem-solving, etc. The purpose of the programme, recognized by the European Commission’s DG Enterprise and Industry as a Best Practice in Entrepreneurship Education, is for the students to assume entire responsibility for the setting-up and running of a virtual business, assisted by volunteer executives and businessmen. The programme culminates in a national competition in which the best business ideas are presented and awarded. The winning idea then goes on to enter the corresponding Europe-wide competition. The 2012 competition featured entries from 36 virtual businesses, involving 900 students from state and private schools all over the country.
In the Junior Achievement Job Shadow programme, students spend a whole day alongside business people at their workplace, an experience which helps them learn more about the concepts of career development and the labour market.
In 2012, 80 students visited our head offices and spoke with 41 Citi employees who had volunteered to take part in the programme. They talked about the work our employees were doing, what they had studied and what their everyday routine at work involved.
Banks in Action
This is a programme designed to provide secondary school students with basic financial knowledge and give them the skills to handle their own financial affairs as responsible consumers, while also broadening their horizons as future businessmen. Citi employees act as instructors, using the teaching material developed by Junior Achievement. The programme was designed by Junior Achievement Worldwide, with a commitment from the Citi Foundation to help with development and implementation. Here in Greece the programme enjoys the support of the Hellenic Bank Association.