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On 5 October we celebrated World Teachers' Day and with such an event, it remains pivotal for our society to acknowledge the instrumental role of our teachers. George Bernard Shaw declared: "What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child". This statement illustrates the agency of a learner whilst maintaining the significance of the teacher as the auxiliary of knowledge. With the advent of the fourth industrial revolution, innovative strategies are essential in safeguarding young minds from the imminent economic climate of the country.
The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) in collaboration with the nine Provincial Departments of Education (PEDs) and the Financial Planning Institute (FPI) implemented the National Financial Literacy Speech Competition. The competition encouraged learners to become financially literate by researching and presenting speeches on the following three financial literacy topics:
The competition consisted of four rounds (classroom, district, provincial and interprovincial), each required the learners to present a prepared five-minute speech on one of the provided financial literacy topics. The participating learners had to (1) be in grade 11 (2) study subjects in the Business Studies stream and (3) be in quintile one, two and three schools. Whilst participation in the competition remained voluntary, all schools were identified by the respective Provincial Departments of Education (PEDs). The winners from the nine provincial finals proceeded to the inter-provincial final where the national winner was chosen by a set of accomplished judges from the various PED's, provincial consumer protection offices, the National Credit Regulator, the FPI and the Financial Services Consumer Education Foundation (FSCEF). To ensure that the scores are accurate and fair, auditors from Deloitte, SNG-Grant Thornton and Ngubane & Associates provided their pro-bono auditing services. The following learners showcased their outstanding abilities and succeeded at occupying the top three positions on the 4th of October 2019:
During all the provincial finals, the learners stood a chance to win the following prizes: the winner received an investment prize to the value of R 30 000.00, the first runner-up R 15 000.00 and the second runner-up R 7 500.00. In addition to this, the schools of the winning learners received prizes equivalent to this value. All prizes were provided alongside the services of a Certified Financial Planner from the FPI to provide pro-bono financial planning advice to the parents/legal guardians of the top three learners for the purposes of investing the prize money. To acknowledge the teachers' involvement in the mentoring of the participating learners, vouchers to the value of R 1000.00 were granted to them for all their efforts.
In 2019 the funders of this initiative, the FSCEF recognised the prospect of including another incentive for all the provincial first place winners. A bursary prize was included to cover the following services:
The learners will also receive academic mentoring to level the playing field and enable them to compete as equally as possible despite their background. They will also be granted psychosocial and career development support from an industry member who will mentor them throughout the three years. There will be a condition for the learner to spend a minimum period per year to attain work experience within their selected industries.
This competition is a valuable intervention to disseminate key information about entrepreneurship and promotes financial literacy especially to learners from disadvantaged backgrounds. Such an initiative needs to be recognised for its cultivation of a myriad of soft-skills, financial literacy development and encouraging young minds to become confident speakers and ultimately leaders in their communities. In addition to this, the competition encourages learners to focus on their academic performance which remains invaluable in the current socio-political climate.