Saving scheme doles out treats to thrifty kids

SINGAPORE - The saving habits of more than 7,000 primary school pupils from low-income families in the North East District will be tracked over three years, through a new financial literacy and savings programme.

The WeCare@North East Young Savers programme, which includes incentive schemes and a board game, aims to encourage children to save regularly.

To participate, the pupils will need to have a POSB savings account, but those without one will get a one-time $10 cash credit each from the North East Community Development Council (CDC) if they start one.

Those who save at least $10 a month will receive a $5 book voucher at six-month intervals for a year.

POSB will monitor the pupils' bank accounts in the second year to see if they maintain good saving habits without incentives.

From next January, the pupils will learn basic financial concepts such as budgeting through a workshop. It includes a board game segment where they will learn basic terms such as "boom" and "recession".

The programme, developed by North East CDC and POSB, is targeted at upper primary pupils in the North East District who come under the Education Ministry's Financial Assistance Scheme.

The workshop component was launched yesterday by North East District Mayor Teo Ser Luck, at Pasir Ris East Community Club.

Mr Teo said people understood the importance of saving when Singapore was still a developing country.

"Now that we are more affluent, we want to make sure that this knowledge and value of savings are not eroded over time," he said. About 100 pupils from three primary schools got a first glimpse of the workshop at the launch.

Beckham Er, 11, from Seng Kang Primary, said: "If it's something we need, we should spend on that first. If it's a want, then we shouldn't spend on that yet."

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