May 18, 2020

PISA: Finnish youth among best internationally in financial literacy

student using tablet
Over 70 per cent of Finnish youngsters revealed they have received information about financial literacy from teachers.
ElinaManninen / KEKSI

Finnish 15-year-olds received the second-highest average score, of 537, in financial literacy tests organised as part of PISA 2018.

The score was enough to secure a share of second place in the optional content area of the world-famous international student assessment programme, with the only higher score, of 547, received by young people in Estonia. Finland had not participated in the financial literacy assessments prior to 2018.

The results were recently announced by Finland’s Ministry for Education and Culture.

Finland had both the highest share (20%) of 15-year-olds performing at the highest, or fifth, level of financial literacy and the smallest inter-school differences in scores.

Girls in Finland received an average score of 540 and boys one of 534 in the tests. More than a fifth (21%) of boys and almost a fifth (19%) of girls performed at the highest level of financial literacy, whereas over a tenth (12%) of boys and almost a tenth (8%) of girls fell short of the adequate level of two.

An educated approach

Finnish youth have had an opportunity to hone their financial skills in practice. The shares of young people with their own bank account and bank or payment card stood higher than in any other participating country, at 89 and 78 per cent, respectively.

They also reported the highest level of interest in monetary matters and demonstrated a high level of readiness to make decisions about their own finances.

Young Finns widely attributed their financial knowledge to education.

Over 70 per cent of them revealed they have received information about financial literacy from teachers. Students also revealed they have come across a fair number of financial tasks at school.

Nowhere else was the link between scores and education as pronounced as in Finland.

There room for improvement, however. The correlation between the financial literacy and socio-economic background of pupils was the second highest in Finland, with pupils in the lowest socio-economic quarter faring especially poorly and those in the highest especially well.

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