Understanding whether financial education works, how it works and the most appropriate methods for evaluating financial education programmes are key components of a successful national strategy for financial education. Good programme evaluation allows to show whether objectives are being met, to identify elements that can be scaled-up or replicated. It also allows policy makers to test different approaches to see which are the most cost efficient, and to assess whether different methodologies have differential impact on various population subgroups.
Prepared for the 2013 G20 Summit in Saint Petersburg, this report collects country evidence and lessons learnt in evaluating financial education programmes and suggests an overall framework to guide policy makers and financial educators when designing an evaluation study.
Under the support of the Russia/WB/OECD Trust Fund for Financial Literacy and Education, the OECD/International Network on Financial Education (INFE) has developed significant work in relation to evaluating financial education programmes, including the collection of countriy experiences, challenges, and lessons learnt in evaluating their financial education programmes. Based on these evidence and lessons, the INFE has developed policy instruments on the evaluation of financial education programmes, including the INFE High-level Principles on Evaluation of Financial Education Programmes (2011) and two non-technical Guides to Evaluation (2011).
OECD INFE High-level principles
Monitoring and evaluating financial education programmes is essential to be certain that they are effective, to identify where and how they can be improved and to check whether resources are well used. Evaluation evidence can help identifying the most efficient programmes and influencing future funding decisions. Furthermore, when robust evaluation findings are generalised to a wider population it becomes possible to predict the overall impact of a programme on a much larger scale and set well-defined policy targets.
These INFE High-level Principles for the Evaluation of Financial Education Programmes provide policy makers, programme designers and other stakeholders with information about the importance of monitoring and evaluating financial education programmes. They cover a wide variety of financial education provisions, from individual courses and seminars to large scale programmes and media campaigns.
Because the evaluation of national strategies requires evaluation of the component parts, these principles and recommendations are of relevance in all countries, regardless of whether there is a national financial literacy strategy.
The High-level Principles complement the 2005 Recommendation on Principles and Good Practices for Financial Education and Awareness.
Practical guidance for evaluating financial education programmes
The OECD/INFE has developed two practical guides on evaluating financial education programmes. These describe the process of monitoring and evaluating financial education programmes and explain their importance. They have been developed for use by financial education project managers, educators and stakeholders.
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