SINGAPORE – Whenever Matthew Lam heard the acronym “CPF”, he thought it was something to do with his grandparents.

But after Wednesday afternoon (July 24) at school, the 16-year-old now knows how he will be able to use any of his Central Provident Fund monies accrued when he is working.

The Secondary 4 student took part in games organised by the CPF Board at Guangyang Secondary School as part of a programme to motivate secondary and tertiary students to start saving early and develop an appreciation of CPF.

The session saw 250 upper secondary students from the school attend a game-show assembly and play interactive board games that taught financial literacy concepts such as compound interest.

“I learnt that you can use CPF money to pay for healthcare and property,” Matthew told The Straits Times. “The random-generated movement in the board game brought me to unexpected situations like ‘rainy days’, which requires your savings.”

“It also taught me to save early and save more, because life is full of unexpected events.”

School principal Alvin Lim said: “It’s never too early to learn financial literacy. Planning to save is a skill and knowledge that the youth will need as they grow older.”

The CPF Board also works with students at junior colleges and tertiary institutions through the use of game machines, with CPF staff on hand to give advice.

The CPF Board has visited more than 40 secondary and tertiary institutions since the programme started in February.

Director of its outreach and partnerships department Jeffrey Png said: “We will continue to reach out to as many schools as possible.”

Other government initiatives also aim to boost financial literacy among the young.

From this year, all Year 1 polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education students will be taught a mandatory module on financial literacy.

The ungraded programme will teach budgeting and financial basics like the effect of compound interest on debt and savings.

Over the next few years, other financial education curriculum modules will also be piloted with selected Year 2 and 3 students, to help them understand how insurance, investments and national schemes like CPF work.