“Young Factor”: a project in pursuit of economic and financial literacy

The series of the important events continues at the Odeon Theatre in Florence.
On the occasion of the sixth edition of the “Young Factor” project for the school year 2019/2020 which is sponsored by the Osservatorio Permanente Giovani – Editori a new, important event was held for the more than 800 Italian students who participate in this initiative. This event is part of a project started years ago by the Osservatorio to kick start a new civic and social initiative aimed at improving Italian students’ economic and financial literacy, and bridge the gap in competitiveness vis a vis their European peers. This initiative is promoted in partnership with Intesa Sanpaolo, Banca Monte dei Paschi Siena , Unicredit and UBI Banks.
In recent years, this event has seen the participation of Governors of Central European Banks, including Ignazio Visco (Bank of Italy, Governor) Jens Weidmann (President of Deutsche Bundesbank), Francois Villeroy de Galhau (Bank of France, Governor) Klaas Knot (Bank of the Netherlands, Governor), Carlos Costa (Bank of Portugal, Governor) Edwald Nowotny (Bank of Austria, Governor) Jan Smets (former Governor of the Bank of Belgium), Luis M. Linde (former Governor of the Bank of Spain) and Jean-Claude Trichet (former President of the European Central Bank).
“Young Factor” is currently the country’s leading initiative aimed at fostering literacy in the economic and financial fields, in terms of the number of participating high school Italian students. The project’s objective is to enhance students’ skills in economics and finance. Despite being a recent initiative, it has already garnered much success. Andrea Ceccherini, President of Osservatorio Permanente Giovani – Editori while delivering his introductory speech to a jam-packed auditorium of Italian students, said: ” Ignorance generates costs and financial illiteracy is particularly costly. We at the Osservatorio believe that wherever there is the greatest lack of knowledge, the response should be to provide the most education. That is how the “Young Factor ” initiative came about: to promote a wide campaign of financial and economic literacy in Italy’s high schools.”
617,188 Italian high school students are participating in Yound Factor this academic year, and today, here in Florence, we renewed the alliance forged between the Osservatorio and the group of foundations of banking origin with the mission of promoting education initiatives for our young citizens.
As a further testimony to this strong tie, when Francesco Profumo, President of ACRI took the floor he said: “We need to know how to analyze things, how to summarize them and how to break down the processes. This is what the Newspaper in the classroom project has achieved. You, kids are instrumental in helping our country to grow. – he added- We must all become active citizens, capable of reading, understanding, evaluating and making choices. This project, as well as the Osservatorio’s other initiatives, represent a real asset for our lives, which we will continue to follow closely, also beyond our borders. After the success achieved over the last 15 years of collaboration, (we started in December 2004) between the Foundations and the Osservatorio, both the Newspaper in the Classroom project and the collaboration among its leaders are destined to be further strenghtened.
The event was moderated by Ferruccio de Bortoli, a columnist at the Corriere della Sera, and was headlined by the Central Bank of Spain Governor, the youngest member of the ECB. In answering the questions posed by De Bortoli and the many questions asked by the students, the Governor talked about several topics including the ESM, Brexit, Spain’s economic recovery after the financial crisis and the reasons behind it, the technology revolution and its impact on the financial world over the next few years, and finally, the need for a stronger economic and financial literacy amongst the youth.
The Governor of the Bank of Spain, addressing the large audience of 800 students coming from all over Italy said: ” we need to know how the economy works in order to make the best choices. As representatives of central banks, and in particular of Spain, we are in favor of and support these projects because financial education is still very low even in countries such as Spain and Italy. The work carried out by Andrea and the Osservatorio is absolutely imperative” and, Hernandez De Cos added: “I am here to help and bring the benefits of this experience also to Spain.”