How education can help to build trust and understanding — a case study of our education programme

Quarterly Bulletin 2019 Q2
Published on 21 June 2019

By Ratidzo Starkey, Head of Outreach and Education.

  • Without public trust, central banks lose their ability to instil confidence in their policies and garner support for their independence.
  • This article looks at one of the initiatives used by the Bank of England to boost public understanding and build public trust: developing an education programme for school‑age children to help equip them with the knowledge and tools they need to engage with the economy and the Bank of England.
  • Building trust takes time. We must continue to monitor the gaps in public understanding, particularly for young people, and respond with appropriate tools and interventions to fill those gaps.  

Overview

Trust is crucial for central banks, underpinning their credibility and legitimacy. However, in 2016 and 2017, a number of studies pointed to a fall in the level of public trust in public institutions. This growing scepticism represents a challenge to economic policymaking institutions, such as the Bank of England.

A number of studies have highlighted familiarity as a necessary precondition for trust. In other words, information and transparency build understanding, which in turn helps to build trust. 

In our 2014 Strategic Plan, the Bank made a commitment to be more ‘Open and Accountable’, in a bid to increase public understanding of our work. As part of this commitment, we developed a new website, called KnowledgeBank. It contains simple, bite-sized guides, designed to explain the role of the Bank and make economics more accessible.

Our work on KnowledgeBank put into sharp focus an area that had been previously overlooked: the supply of accessible economics education with a wide reach. To bridge this gap, we have developed educational resources to equip young people with the knowledge and tools they need to engage with the economy, understand the personal relevance of economics and understand the role of the Bank of England. 

Our first resource, econoME, provides an introduction to the economy for students aged 11–16. It focuses on financial decision-making and teaches students how to develop the skills needed to make informed decisions.

The success of our econoME resource demonstrates the appetite for better economic and financial literacy. We aim to expand our education offering, and plan to launch resources for primary schools.

PDFA case study of  our education programme

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