Youngsters today spend around ten hours a day getting to and attending class and another couple of hours snowed under with homework – that’s a minimum of twelve hours in school-related time per day. Take eight hours off for sleep, which should be a minimum requirement, and most kids are left with a measly four hours a day to shower, eat, relax…and then fit in a host of other extracurricular activities. School is monopolizing our children’s time, so maybe we should all look a little deeper into the best use of that time.

With schools taking up the lion’s share of available time in their lives, it’s only logical and fair that they deal with the critical aspect of preparing these youngsters for adult life – that is, after all, the whole point of school – and financial empowerment ranks highly in this preparedness.

Most parents everywhere would agree that financial empowerment is a critical life skill and would be relieved, pleased and extremely grateful if schools took it upon themselves to empower kids with the said skill.

Yet, aside from the funds and resources, many schools say they don’t have time to financially educate their students. Therein lies the real tragedy. How short- sighted and oblivious to the inherent danger this poses does one have to be to take this stance?
I don’t even want to get into the myriad useless and redundant classes most students have to attend during their educational journey. It seems that the real tragedy of an outdated curriculum are the critical things that students don’t have the time to learn.

Keep in mind that the time spent in school is not just any time, it’s at a crucial juncture of growth when brain development is at its maximum – anything they learn now, they learn quicker and more effectively than at any other time in their lives. There’s an Arab proverb that says, ‘What’s taught in youth, is carved in stone’, we should realize and leverage this to teach them skills, and nurture values in them that will hold them in good stead in the future.

Schools also have the added benefit of having the kids social circle – learning which has this social element is more memorable and thus more effective. As Dr. David Rock states in his book Your Brain at Work, ‘There are additional benefits to harnessing the power of social interactions. There is a memory network that gets activated when information is social that turns out to be more robust that a memory without a social element.’

Schools have everything lined up perfectly for them: teens spend so much time there, their brains are primed to learn at this time in their lives, and having their social circle around helps to activate learning pathways in their brain.

While I know that it’s common to refer to the twenties as the defining decade in a person’s life, it’s the decade prior to the twenties that deserves that distinction. Because it’s during that prior decade that they learn what they need to, that they fuel up for the ride. Since most of that decade is spent in education, it falls upon schools to get our kids ready for the world. One can’t be world ready if one has no concept of how money works.

Especially as this skill will affect every other aspect of their lives, from whether and where they choose to go to college, to what career they choose to pursue and how long they choose to work. It will also undoubtedly affect their health – both physical and mental, their relationships and their overall wellbeing. It’s hard to think of another skill that has this much impact.

We think of youngsters as having loads of time, and they believe it themselves too. They procrastinate about learning how to deal with money smartly and how to invest for the long term, but we’ve all seen how time seems to pass in a blink of an eye.
It’s said that with great power comes great responsibility . . . schools don’t only have great power, they are also privy to a great amount of our kids’ time, and that surely comes with an even greater responsibility.