The Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s (JSE) 2019 Investment Challenge, South Africa’s largest financial literacy initiative which provides high school and university students with an opportunity to explore and engage with the world of investing by buying shares in a virtual portfolio, has kicked off and is well underway with more than 8 700 participants taking part.
The simulator game sees each team of four learners or students from the same school or institution provided with a virtual sum of R1-million to invest. With this virtual amount the teams trade on the stock market and invest in actual JSE listed shares over a six-month period. The Challenge enables students to become aware of the fundamentals of investing on the JSE and encourages a culture of saving as well as becoming conscious of everyone’s contribution in the functioning of our economy.
Corporate Social Investment (CSI) Officer at the JSE, Ralph Speirs, says: “So far 74 higher learning institutions have registered over 2 700 participants. Altogether there are 358 institutions, including schools, with 11 400 high school learners and university students working towards this year’s coveted prizes. We are excited to be educating so many young people and affording them the chance to learn about the stock exchange at their age.”
The challenge, in its 46th year, is open to school learners between grades 8 and 12 as well as students from higher learning institutions. The various teams compete with other teams from schools, and institutions, countrywide. There are monthly and annual prizes for top performing teams, schools, teachers and mentors.
Speirs says that the JSE Investment Challenge, which runs from March to September each year, has had immeasurable impact on learners, institutions and communities. They are now more financially aware and transferring this knowledge to everyone they interact with outside the game.
“Registration for the challenge is still open. In the nearly five decades of existence, there is no tool in the financial sector that matches this challenge when it comes to the financial education and practical transfer of skills on the participant’s lives,” says Speirs.
Bheki Twala, a final-year education student at the University of the Witwatersrand who has mentored schools in Katlehong for the challenge since 2012, says the learners he has worked with have applied the skills they learned during the challenge to real life.
“The people in my community are largely unemployed and the children mostly attend no-fee schools. We grow up knowing only about Stokvels as a means to save money. That’s the only financial literacy we knew. This challenge teaches children in my community how to grow money through investment, how to get an interest on your savings which is always better than just putting money away. The challenge kills two birds with one stone. These learners are learning how to grow money while also shaping their career choices for the future,” says Twala.
One such learner is Fezile Ntsinde who led the group that took the coveted first prize in the Income category. He says: “I’m doing it again this year! Winning feels overwhelming. This type of competition always seems out of reach, as though it was meant for those better than us. Being a part of this has brought me so much joy.” Ntsinde intends to go into asset management when he completes high school.
Schools, teachers, learners and students are urged to take part in the race for the 2019 title. For further information on the challenge and registration visit: http://schools.jse.co.za and http://university.jse.co.za.