Scaling up the financial education program in Jordan

A growing body of to research showed that financial inclusion can be a powerful tool to address economic growth, poverty reduction, and gender and income inequality. Yet there are also risks associated with financial services, and so it is important that financial inclusion is accompanied by efforts to improve financial literacy. Early exposure to financial knowledge and skills is especially important to help young people navigate complex financial decisions and develop healthy long-term financial behaviors.

Recognizing the importance of financial literacy for young people, Jordan established the National Financial Education Program (FEP) as a central pillar of its National Financial Inclusion Strategy. The FEP offers a comprehensive program dedicated to financial literacy that is designed to be interactive, engaging and relevant to students’ daily lives. Since 2014, the Ministry of Education (MoE), the Jordanian non-profit organization INJAZ, the Central Bank of Jordan and key partners from the financial and education sectors were involved in the design, development and implementation of a gradual roll-out of the program across the country. Today, FEP is a required class for all students in grades 7 through 10 and an optional course for students in grades 11 and 12.

Study the FEP scaling journey

The Center for Universal Education (CUE) at Brookings studied efforts to scale up and support evidence-based initiatives leading to large-scale improvements in children’s learning. CUE has implemented a series of collaborative action research initiatives called Real-Time Scaling Labs (RTSL), in partnership with local institutions in several countries. The aim of these RTSLs is to generate evidence and provide practical recommendations around the process of scaling up in global education, encouraging a stronger link between research and practice.

This new report focuses on one of the scaling labs of Jordan, launched in 2019 in collaboration with the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ), the MoE and INJAZ. The lab focused on this partnership-led process of implementing, adapting and scaling up the national financial education (FEP) curriculum for grades 7-12 across the country. While this report focuses on the history of EFF, it also serves as a case study of broader questions about how an evidence-based initiative can progress to sustainable national scale, with lessons transferable beyond. beyond EFF and Jordan.

The first section of the report provides a brief overview of the case, including an overview of the education ecosystem, the movement to promote greater financial inclusion in Jordan, and brief descriptions of key players and initiatives engaged with. the EFF. The second section details the history of the implementation, adaptation and expansion of EFF in Jordan to date, exploring the critical factors, opportunities and challenges related to its design, execution, funding and its enabling environment.

The report looks at some of the reasons for the successful scale-up of EFF, including a public-private partnership (PPP) model that broke with traditional ways of working and brought together contributions from diverse actors for funding , advocacy and implementation; a long lead time to continually test and refine the approach; a global movement for financial inclusion and a strong local enabling environment that supported scaling; and flexibility between all parties to adapt plans and react to a changing context following an international pandemic.

The report also highlights some recurring challenges faced in the scaling process, including monitoring and data collection, maintaining high-quality training at scale, and maintaining buy-in at all. levels, from the classroom to stakeholders within the Ministry of Education. In an attempt to address some of these challenges, the RTSL has identified, adapted and tested a series of ideas for change, including direct teacher training; digitize the VET curriculum through videos and interactive platforms; and teacher learning circles to build peer support, mentorship and buy-in for VET teachers.

The report concludes with considerations for key stakeholders in Jordan regarding the next phase of the EFF, as well as scaling-up elements from the EFF experience that can inform future scaling efforts. in education in Jordan and beyond. The efforts of the Jordanian government to scale and sustain the EFF – in partnership with the CBJ, INJAZ and many other actors – have provided a fascinating case of what it takes to reach national scale, and that story will continue. likely to provide rich insights on scaling up and transforming education for Jordan and many countries around the world in the future.

Photo credit: Abdelhadi Qallab

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Sarah J. Greer