Press Release - Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and DBS Partner on ITE-Wide Financial Literacy Curriculum

News details
  • Publish date:09 Jan 2019

Students across the three ITE colleges in Singapore will be taught money management skills and equipped with personal digital budgeting tools

SINGAPORE, 9 January 2019 – The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and DBS Bank today announced that the two parties have entered into a two-year partnership to develop and implement an ITE-wide financial literacy programme. Senior Minister of State (Ministry of Trade and Industry & Ministry of Education), Mr Chee Hong Tat officiated at the signing event, which was held at ITE Headquarters.

Empowering Students with Data Insights

Offered as enhanced segments within mandatory modules under the Lifeskills curriculum, the programme aims to empower the first batch of 10,000 ITE student participants with data insights that transform financial literacy into a meaningful and relatable subject, which will spur students to apply what they learnt to their daily lives. Lessons will be made authentic, engaging and relevant to students through a unique use of data analytics and design thinking, so they can better learn and understand financial literacy concepts set out in the MoneySense curriculum.

Financial Habits of ITE Students

These topics, and the way they will be taught to students, are jointly developed by DBS and ITE based on feedback and insights gathered from students and their lecturers through several immersion sessions organised by DBS last year. In learning more about the students’ money habits and their attitude towards money, it was found that:

  • Their spending is more focused on their day-to-day needs. Top three categories they spend most frequently on include: grocery/snack shopping (35%); dining (25%); shopping (15%).
  • More ITE students are putting their money towards savings, as compared to their peers. Five in 10 ITE students save, versus four in every 10 of their peers. But while the students do save, it is usually towards a purchase rather than for rainy days.
  • Financial literacy topics with a longer time horizon, such as insurance and investments, are challenging for them to relate to and remember.
  • They typically receive their allowance in cash, posing a challenge for them to track their spending efficiently, and thus do not have an intimate grasp of their personal finances.
  • Students learn better by doing, and so there is a need to incorporate hands-on activities to help them internalise learning by putting concepts into practice.

Ms Low Khah Gek, CEO, ITE, said: “We are excited to work with DBS in developing a curriculum on Financial Literacy, leveraging DBS’ strong data analytics capabilities. Through this, we will be able to draw insights into the spending and saving habits of the Youth-Adult population, including ITE students. The power of such analytics is that we now have new and authentic ways to engage with our students to help them understand their spending patterns and habits. We are also able to help them look ahead into the future and understand how their spending needs and demands may change as they move into different stages of their lives.”

“Developing a healthy relationship with money and being responsible for one’s personal finances is an important step towards achieving financial wellness,” said Jeremy Soo, Head of Consumer Banking Group (Singapore) at DBS Bank. “At DBS, we are privileged to bank nearly all of Singapore, and so we believe in stepping forward to partner ITE in this meaningful initiative that will help students develop good financial habits. Such habits will allow them to take charge of their financial health, plan well for the future, and reap the benefits as they progress later in life.”

Aim of Partnership

Working hand-in-hand with lecturers from ITE, the DBS-ITE Financial Literacy Curriculum Partnership seeks to:

  • Introduce digital tools and encourage the adoption of cashless payment methods, which allow students to track their spending digitally anytime and manage their money. An example is the DBS/POSB Your Financial GPS –Singapore’s first holistic digital financial advisor available for free – where users can check their spending across multiple expense categories, set and track budgets, and make use of personalised insights and financial advice to better manage their finances.
  • Supplement theoretical concepts with action-oriented learning; for example, when students are taught the basics of budgeting, they will be encouraged to create their personal financial plan at the same time with digital banking tools.
  • Make each lesson relatable to students through the use of practical examples and real-life scenarios that they are familiar with or may find themselves in.

Using Data Analytics to Measure Positive Change in Students’ Money Habits

The curriculum will also leverage DBS’ extensive data analytics capabilities where, by using data as a feedback loop, programme administrators are able to measure positive change in the students’ financial habits. Such success can be quantified as more students being seen saving; saving more; or using a financial planner to set budgets and track against financial-life goals.

“Like we do in financial planning, it is imperative that we set success metrics for the programme and be able to measure its impact and influence on students. By actively monitoring the students’ overall progression towards holistic financial wellness, it also helps us adjust and tailor the topics taught in future iterations to make each one even more useful for the students,” said Soo.

About DBS

DBS is a leading financial services group in Asia, with over 280 branches across 18 markets. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, DBS has a growing presence in the three key Asian axes of growth: Greater China, Southeast Asia and South Asia. The bank's "AA-" and "Aa1" credit ratings are among the highest in the world.

Recognised for its global leadership, DBS has been named “Global Bank of the Year” by The Banker and “Best Bank in the World” by Global Finance. The bank is at the forefront of leveraging digital technology to shape the future of banking, having been named “ World’s Best Digital Bank” by Euromoney. In addition, DBS has been accorded the “Safest Bank in Asia” award by Global Finance for ten consecutive years from 2009 to 2018.

DBS provides a full range of services in consumer, SME and corporate banking. As a bank born and bred in Asia, DBS understands the intricacies of doing business in the region’s most dynamic markets. DBS is committed to building lasting relationships with customers, and positively impacting communities through supporting social enterprises, as it banks the Asian way. It has also established a SGD 50 million foundation to strengthen its corporate social responsibility efforts in Singapore and across Asia.

With its extensive network of operations in Asia and emphasis on engaging and empowering its staff, DBS presents exciting career opportunities. The bank acknowledges the passion, commitment and can-do spirit in all of our 26,000 staff, representing over 40 nationalities. For more information, please visit