March 28, 2022
TSX/NYSE/PSE: MFC SEHK: 945
Hong Kong – Manulife Hong Kong today announced the launch of a “FinKids Academy” program in conjunction with community partner St. James’ Settlement, as an immediate initiative to support the community amid ad-hoc changes to the school schedule. The program is designed to help underprivileged children equip themselves with future-ready skills, improved financial literacy and greater technology know-how from the safety of home.
The new “FinKids Academy” runs under Manulife’s “Go Paperless” Education Aid Program from March to May 2022. Swiftly developed in response to the rapidly spreading fifth wave of COVID-19 in Hong Kong, the initiative aims to help primary students acquire new skills through digital learning. The program will be fully launched in September this year with a total of over 600 students from 24 schools joining. A total of over 10,000 learning hours under the program will incorporate innovative technology, such as virtual reality (VR) and FinTech, to provide an immersive learning experience for the students.
“Manulife is committed to supporting the community through our expertise and network. Part of our mission is to improve financial literacy starting with those at a young age, so that they can plan early and be more financially-resilient as they grow,” said Raymond Ng, Vice President and Head of Hong Kong Retirement for Manulife Hong Kong and Macau. “We’re very grateful to our partner, St. James’ Settlement, for its tremendous support. The program will help kids learn core skills including coding, money planning, design thinking– invaluable tools for the future.”
The program offers hands-on learning that combines theory with practice using various digital tools. It covers basic coding knowledge, while exploring different types and uses of FinTech, digital currencies and how the metaverse will impact our future. The game-based learning utilizes VR in simulated day-to-day life situations with design thinking and mind-mapping tools.
Josephine Lee, Chief Executive Officer of St. James’ Settlement, said: “Schools here have endured two years of pandemic-related disruption and we see its impact on children’s education and well-being especially in less affluent areas. Given the extended holidays for students at the moment, it is vital to offer meaningful online educational programs to children. We are glad to have the participation of C.C.C. Chuen Yuen First Primary School and Ching Chung Hau Po Woon Primary School within such a short timeframe. We believe that this program will be welcomed by participating schools as it helps equip our underprivileged children with the financial literacy and digital skills in a fun and engaging way.”
Echoing the focus of this year’s Hong Kong Money Month, the program calls for the community to develop financial management skills and plan for the future.
“The use of smart technology to really engage with the students is unique and pioneering. Through this initiative, Manulife hopes to continue nurturing children’s financial knowledge using emerging technologies, so as to prepare them for prudent money planning and to be more ready to meet the challenges of a fast-evolving and unpredictable environment,” Mr. Ng added.
In 2020, Manulife's “Go Paperless” Education Aid Program was successfully launched as a community project in partnership with SJS, with donation of 400 iPads to 13 primary schools, and hosting of virtual AI and financial literacy workshops for 400 students. It also ran a design competition for an “AI and financial planning mobile app” and “My ideal AI financial planning robot” among the students over the following school year.
About Manulife Hong Kong
Manulife Hong Kong, through Manulife International Holdings Limited, owns Manulife (International) Limited, Manulife Investment Management (Hong Kong) Limited and Manulife Provident Funds Trust Company Limited. As a member of the Manulife group of companies, Manulife Hong Kong offers a diverse range of protection and wealth products and services to individual and corporate customers in Hong Kong and Macau.
Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services provider that helps people make their decisions easier and lives better. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we provide financial advice and insurance, operating as Manulife across Canada, Asia, and Europe, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. Through Manulife Investment Management, the global brand for our global wealth and asset management segment, we serve individuals, institutions and retirement plan members worldwide. Our principal operations are in Asia and Canada, and the United States, where we have served customers for more than 155 years. We trade as 'MFC' on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under '945' in Hong Kong. In the previous 12 months we made CAD$31.8 billion in payments to our customers.
About St. James’ Settlement
Founded by the Rt. Rev. Bishop R.O. Hall of the Anglican Church in 1949, St. James’ Settlement began as a club for boys and girls in a temple in Stone Nullah Lane, Wanchai. Our first centre outside Wanchai (named Central and Western District Elderly Community Centre) was established in 1990. Since then, different service centres have been developed and most of them are located along the north coast of Hong Kong Island, from The Belcher’s in Western to Hing Wah Estate in Chai Wan. In recent years, in view of the society’s ever changing needs, we have opened service centres in Kowloon and the New Territories. To date, our 73 service points are in operation across Hong Kong. By the end of September 2021, we have over 1,800 staff members to provide a vast range of high quality services for people of different ages and needs. In the past year, around 1,000 volunteers have helped in different service units.
In 2020-2021, St. James’ Settlement served more than 2.2 million person-times, and our target beneficiaries include children, teenagers, families, the elderly and people with disabilities. We provide a broad spectrum of services ranging from community support to residential care.