Teaching children how to look at numbers, understand bank accounts and work out interest rates will restore trust between banks and the wider public, the Bank of England’s top economist has said.
Andy Haldane told a City audience that too many children were being put off maths at school and called on policymakers to make the subject “relevant to people’s lives [and] link it to real-world decisions”.
Children that do not study maths are left with “an educational scar that can last a lifetime,” Haldane added, warning that this meant they struggled to navigate the complicated financial world in adulthood.
Re-orienting the school curriculum in [a] more practical direction might help. What better set of real-world decisions [to study] that financial ones: how to draw up a monthly budget, how to make sense of an annual percentage rate (APR) on a loan, how to decide between competing savings, pensions and mortgage products.
– Andy Haldane, Bank of England chief economist
But Haldane said that City “elites” could not write off the concerns of the wider public about the banking industry just due to poor understanding though. He also attacked financial types – himself and the Bank of England included – for talking in impenetrable language and creating needlessly complicated annual reports, product descriptions, terms and conditions and financial products.