The Financial Literacy Program
by Martha G. Suez-Sales, Instructor of Accounting
The Financial Literacy (FL) Program was initiated by the Guam Society of CPAs and the Guam Department of Education in 2011-2012. The FL program’s purpose is to foment financial literacy in public schools in Guam. After the 2008 financial crisis, similar programs have been adopted nationwide. Utah was the first state to pioneer financial literacy in public schools. Other states followed shortly after Utah’s program was deemed successful. Currently, there are several organizations dedicated to educating the public.
In Guam, we currently do not have legislation to adopt financial literacy in schools. However, Guam DOE curriculum director, Ms. Eloise Sanchez, proposed that we create a pilot program and test it at Okkodo High School. I created 5 modules which were reviewed and approved by the Guam society of CPAs and Ms. Sanchez. Module 1 consists of understanding the importance of saving, the difference between simple and compound interest and the rule of 72. Module 2 covers budgeting, module 3 briefs students on income taxation, and module 4 educates students about protecting themselves from identity theft and the risks of credit card debt. In module 5, high school students demonstrated how much they have learned through the school year with a Power Point presentation or a skit. UOG accounting students were invited to participate with the purpose of providing community service by assisting the HS students with FL seatwork and assignments, and by gaining a better understanding of an accountant’s role in society.
Both high school students and UOG students expressed that the experience was very educational and gratifying. We hope that we inspired high school students to pursue accounting or to continue to a higher education.
Okkodo High School students receive certificates for participating in the Financial Literacy Program.