Development of Economic Thinking – Investment in Successful Future!

Catherine_M. Wood - Old books // Public domain

Economics and finance are an inevitable part of everyday life for every individual. Economic decisions accompany us at every step: when buying products, saving money for education, retirement, or vacations, choosing a profession or a job, paying utility bills, loans, taxes, and so on. And how well-informed these decisions are directly impacts our individual and collective future.

This is worth remembering in the context of discussing and planning the recovery and development of Ukraine. After all, at its core lies human capital. That is why we need to invest in the economic education of our youth right now (if not yesterday). Educators understand this, the expert community understands it, and fortunately, the main educational stakeholders understand it. However, the most important step is still ahead – the transformation of this understanding into reality.

For many years, in most non-specialized schools, economic subjects were rarely taught or were kept in the curriculum due to the enthusiasm of individual teachers or principals as part of the optional program. This allows schools to implement special courses and electives in economics.

From 2025, the situation will change significantly as the mandatory two-year course on Entrepreneurship and Financial Literacy will be introduced in 8-9 grades. Its goal is to provide students with knowledge and practical skills in managing personal finances and implementing entrepreneurial ideas. Currently, financial literacy is taught in about 10% of schools. By 2025, according to the plans of the Ministry of Education and Science, this figure should reach 100%.

And here we encounter an urgent problem – where to find such a large number of qualified people to teach this new subject? Basically, from the same pool of teachers of Economics-related subjects – Geography, History, Computer Science, Mathematics, etc. Therefore, they should start preparing now.

We at Bendukidze Free Market Center have been training teachers for several years with the support of our partners from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, New Energy, Multimarket Aurora, and the Poltava Business Association, in collaboration with regional and local education departments. This year, we are also inviting educators who want to master innovative teaching methods in Economics and later share this knowledge with their colleagues to join the international program of Economic Fundamentals Initiative “Innovative Methods of Teaching Economics”.

We also have not forgotten about the students themselves! To engage them in developing their economic thinking, we have brought the International Economic Olympiad to Ukraine. This year, more than 9300 children from all regions except Crimea participated in the first national round of the Economic Olympiad in Ukraine.

We are convinced that such a symbiosis of formal and informal initiatives is the future of quality economic education, which will be the key to the successful future of Ukrainian youth and the country as a whole.

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