The first program, Manny & Me, teaches children in Grades 3 and 4 the importance of saving, while BPI SHAPE (Senior High School Acceleration Program for Employment & Entrepreneurship) is a values-driven skills development, entrepreneurship and financial management program for senior high school students taking the technical-vocational track under the K to 12 program.
“The Philippines is one of the fastest-growing economies in the region today, giving people the chance to have more financial power than before. However, without the proper financial education, all these will only go to waste if we do not understand how money works,” said Fidelina Corcuera, BPI Foundation Executive Director. “
With programs like Manny & Me and BPI SHAPE, BPI Foundation is able to integrate basic financial education and entrepreneurship at the primary level, enhance young Filipinos’ financial knowledge and skills by integrating it at the senior high school level, and accelerate them to financial freedom, regardless of their chosen path—whether they choose to start their own businesses, become ‘agripreneurs,’ join the workforce, be self-employed professionals, or work overseas.”
A study conducted by the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in 2011 showed that only one out of four Philippine households had some form of savings. In a country where 26% of the population lives under the poverty line, to foster a culture of saving especially within the young generation, is the first step forward towards achieving financial empowerment.
Manny & Me Manny & Me is introduced at an age where children begin to distinguish between needs and wants, and their brain development is able to conceptually grasp the concept of money, and accept more responsibility in handling money. It is also at this age when children are given allowances. Furthermore, entrepreneurship and life skills begin to be integrated at this level in the Department of Education’s (DepEd) approved curriculum for Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan (EPP). The program was conceptualized in response to key findings from several research initiatives which show that only 13% of parents believe that their children have an appreciation of the value of money (Prudential, 2011) – though almost all parents (96%) think it is important to learn about it. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) estimates that only 31,000 Filipino children currently have their own savings account. BPI Foundation piloted the program with the launch of a web game for children called Piggy’s Coin Run to 1,836 children from 17 public and private elementary schools in Makati and Taguig. The web game was created by BPI Foundation in collaboration with JoomaJam, an up and coming social enterprise that creates fun learning online games with engaging music and visuals.
Manny & Me also comes with a Teacher’s Manual for the elementary school teachers, which can be integrated in the Math and Araling Panlipunan curriculum, and reinforcing activities designed specifically for parents in the home setting.
For its initial phase, BPI Foundation trained a total of 104 teachers from partner schools such as Guadalupe Viejo Elementary School, Fort Bonifacio Elementary School, East Rembo Elementary School, Comembo Elementary School, Pembo Elementary School, Tibagan Elementary School, Cembo Elementary School, Bangkal Elementary School, Hen. Pio del Pilar Elementary School, F. Benitez Elementary School, La Paz Elementary School, Palanan Elementary School, and San Antonio Village Elementary School.
BPI Foundation launched BPI SHAPE in support of Republic Act (RA) 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Program. RA 10533 puts focus on developing appropriate strategies and mechanisms needed to ensure the smooth transition from the 10-year basic education program to the enhanced basic education program, now known as K to 12.
“The private sector plays a very important role during the senior high years of the program, where students will do immersions, internships, and other supplemental training in various companies and organizations for them to learn from real-life experiences. We want to be there for these students,” said Corcuera.
BPI SHAPE assists government in developing industry-relevant technical-vocational-livelihood and technology livelihood education modules for senior high school teachers and students. Aside from module development, BPI SHAPE facilitates school to industry partnerships to allow senior high school students to gain work experience while studying.
BPI SHAPE core program interventions include content development, where the program develops modules aligned to the DepEd curriculum on entrepreneurship, financial management, and personal development. BPI SHAPE likewise offers Teacher Training for all end users of the BPI SHAPE modules and provides professional mentoring by BPI Foundation, BPI Bank Employees and experts to partner schools of the program.
Pilot sites of the BPI SHAPE will be at DepEd Divisions Taguig and Pateros and Division of Laguna. BPI Foundation recently held Teacher Trainings for these schools, attended by 50 teachers each, as well as DepEd Schools Division Superintendents Dr. Benjamin Samson and Dr. Josilyn Solana, and DepEd USec. Mario Deriquito, Undersecretary for Partnerships and External Linkages.
“We picked these sites to pilot test the program as both sites have a perfect blend of rural and urban settings,” said Corcuera. “Through this project, BPI Foundation will be able to provide financial empowerment to at least five schools of the two DepEd Divisions. This will benefit more than 2,000 senior high school students.”
Mainstreaming financial education
With both programs running in close alignment and coordination with the DepEd, BPI Foundation is hoping to reach out to more schools and eventually mainstream financial education.
“Our goal is to educate as many Filipinos as we can on how to manage their finances well. In addition to freeing them from debt, financial literacy would also allow them to invest their money in activities that will not just uplift them and their families, but will uplift their fellow Filipinos and contribute to the country’s economy as well,” said Corcuera.
“We at BPI Foundation believe that financial education will ultimately boost financial inclusion.”