Using Positive Youth Development Constructs to Design a Money Management Curriculum for Junior Secondary School Students in Hong Kong

By Lau, Patrick S. Y.; Lam, Ching-Man et al. | International Journal of Child Health and Human Development, January 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Using Positive Youth Development Constructs to Design a Money Management Curriculum for Junior Secondary School Students in Hong Kong


Lau, Patrick S. Y., Lam, Ching-Man, Law, Ben M. F., Poon, Yu-Hin, International Journal of Child Health and Human Development


Introduction

Catalano, Berglund, Ryan, Lonczak and Hawkins [1] reviewed 77 programs for promoting positive youth development and identified 15 common constructs from 25 programs which were regarded as effective. These constructs include behavioral competence, beliefs in the future, bonding, clear and positive identity, cognitive competence, emotional competence, moral competence, pro-social involvement, pro-social norms, recognition for positive behavior, resilience, self-determination, self-efficacy, social competence, and spirituality. This is the framework adopted as the theoretical basis of a positive youth development program entitled "P.A.T.H.S. to Adulthood: A Jockey Club Youth Enhancement Scheme" [2]. The acronym "P.A.T.H.S." stands for "Positive Adolescent Training through Holistic Social Programs". The aims of the project are to promote positive and holistic development of junior secondary school students (Secondary 1 to Secondary 3) in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust first allotted a huge sum of HK$400 million in 2005 to launch the project. In the Tier 1 program of the project, a total of 120 teaching units were designed to promote the 15 positive youth development constructs among the junior secondary school students. In 2009, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust earmarked another large sum of HK350 million to support the project for a second cycle. To strengthen the Tier 1 program of the project, another 60 new teaching units were designed in response to five developmental issues identified in adolescents in Hong Kong. The five developmental themes are substance abuse, sexuality issues, internet addiction, bullying, and money and success. One should note that the design of these 60 new units is for promoting the psychosocial competence of adolescents rather than assisting them to solve the developmental problems only [3] although the latter would probably happen. Among these 60 newly designed units, 9 of them are related to the theme "money and success" with 2 units, 4 units and 3 units for secondary 1, 2 and 3 students respectively.

In this paper, by reviewing the literature on the need for a money management program for promoting adolescents' money management skills, the financial socialization process of adolescents, and what students should learn in such a program, we are to discuss the relationships between the selected positive youth development constructs (cognitive competence, self-efficacy and spirituality) and the design of a money management program. The curriculum units for secondary 3 students are taken as examples to illustrate the program design.

The need for money management training programs for youths and adolescents

Only 31% of the participants expressed that they always pay the credit card bill in full to avoid interest charges in a group of young Australian workers [4]. This implies that most of the young workers would choose to pay a large sum of interest for their credit activities. In the United States of America, it was reported by Godfrey [5] that about 150,000 aged 18-24 young adults declared bankrupt in 2005. She described the severe situation as "more go bankrupt than graduate from college" (p. 22) and argued for more money management programs to be implemented in educational settings.

One may ask if youths in Hong Kong get into financial trouble severely. The situation looks similar to that we have found in western communities. A newspaper reporter, Cheng [6], reported that in Hong Kong, among five indebted youths, one would be university student. This implies that the financial skills of the local youths may not match their level of education. The spokesman of a family counselling centre run by Tung Wah Group of Hospitals expressed that there were altogether 145 youth indebted cases reported to their centre within the period from January to May in 2010. More than 80% of these reported cases involved a debt of over 80,000 Hong Kong dollars. …

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