The financial industry is going to school, not to boost its own knowledge but to teach children the basics in economics.

Securities representatives say it is important for kids to get a good grounding in how the economy and finance work in a time when financial products are growing ever more complicated.

A course held in March and April at the Tokyo Stock Exchange on the mechanisms of the economy drew 331 children and parents.

During one session in April, schoolchildren performed a skit about a company manager and an employee, in which a boy handed some money to a girl, saying it was her salary.

“The company made some profit thanks to your work and so I am paying you a salary,” the boy said. With the money, the girl went to buy a pair of jeans and a jacket.

“I think I will be able to talk a lot with my father because I feel his company is closer to me now,” said a 9-year-old girl in the fourth grade.

“It seems she understood the importance of money,” her mother said with satisfaction.

Masayuki Osaki, 63, a former TSE employee who served as a lecturer for the classes, said he wanted children and parents to recognize that the economy is linked to their daily lives, particularly when uncertainty over future prospects is growing.

Nomura Holdings Inc. has actively been supporting elementary school education. The brokerage compiled a teaching package with educational publishing house Gakken Co. called “machino keizai kyoshitsu” (“economy class in the neighborhood”) and distributed it to 1,200 elementary schools.

Utilizing the material, children at Shimizudai Elementary School in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, learned economic basics by playing employees of a company and a bank. They studied the typical economic workings of bank loans to buy material, production of goods, and paying back the debt with money earned from sales.

“I want to teach things that will be of use to the children to live wisely,” said Hirotaka Nogami, a teacher at the school.

Daiwa Securities Group Inc. supports students at Ritsumeikan Senior High School in Kyoto Prefecture using a more practical method. One of its employees advises them as an “outside director” of their fictitious company.

The students develop a business plan for establishing a company that will sell environmentally friendly bags in the city’s shopping area. They need to raise ¥10,000 for the company by selling imitation stocks to their parents for ¥100 each. They will work out everything from planning goods for sale, purchasing material and manufacturing products.

On completing the program, they will issue a report on their activities and hold a shareholders’ meeting.

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