Financial literacy relates to the understanding of various financial areas. Many people in Belize struggle with being financially literate, which is why it is important to teach students from a young age about how to properly manage their finances. This is the reason for the annual Youth Innovation Challenge, which was held today at the Marion Jones Stadium. Students from several different schools were given a task to create a product and present it in front of a panel of judges, most of whom hail from different financial institutions in Belize.
Carol Babb- Chief Education Officer: “We are having the youth innovation challenge and this challenge has been going on for the past six years. It all started with Pricewaterhousecoopers with the support of Peace Work and of course the Ministry of Education so for the past six years we have given the students a challenge and they are to come up with a solution. This year’s challenge is what is the role of financial literacy in a developing world? So the students will come up with some solution on how can we address financial literacy? What might be the best practices? We will hear from them and get advice from them.”
Reporter: “So how does a competition like this benefit the students both in school and the real world later on?”
Carol Babb- Chief Education Officer: Well, financial literacy is a skill and knowledge that everyone needs in the real world. Financial literacy is the management of your financial resources, everybody needs to manage their financial resources. Through financial literacy students and adults learn to differentiate between wants and needs. We encourage children, students, the wider population to save regularly to budget and if you make loans then make your pledge payments on time.”
Iseny Soliz – 2nd Form Student Nazarene High School: “With the idea, we saw many articles in the news about sargassum affecting San Pedro and how it affects tourism so that is where the idea came from to try to help develop Belize from that. Many teachers from our school actually helped us to prepare and sometimes we would stay late at night trying to prepare for it but we had a lot of support from teachers and of course from God. I think financial literacy is very important in Belize because if you don’t know about financial literacy and you can’t make financial decisions then someone else is going to make the decision for you and that is not always the best option for you.”
Raegan Patnett Teacher Belize Rural High School: “Our product is to target young individuals who like to drink soft drinks. Those crystal juices that contain a large volume of sugar. Our product is natural, it is made from natural fruits from Belize and when we have that extract we have water added on to that so we have that natural energy flavored water there. We are a growing, young country, we need more business in this country and I believe that my product will make a difference in terms of my students at Belize Rural High school. Thanks to this product we can have more scholarships for students because the majority of them are not financially stable. This product will help in our institution in terms of the feeding program, building different labs and those things over different years.”
15 different schools across the Belize District competed in this year’s event. The event will conclude on Thursday, where a winner will be announced.