News & Warnings

Opening of the Wikifin Lab: a unique financial experience centre for schools

Press release
News article
08/09/2020

Today the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) opens the doors of the Wikifin Lab in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen and several ministers. The Wikifin Lab is an interactive experience centre for financial education, designed for secondary-school students. With its fully digital trajectory, the Wikifin Lab is unique in the world for a financial supervisor like the FSMA.

 

 

Using hands-on experience to gain a better understanding of money matters

In the Wikifin Lab, secondary-school students are given a chance free of charge to experience different financial situations drawn from daily life. During the visit, they are challenged to sharpen their critical sense and to make choices about finances and consumption that have both an individual and a social impact. The insights they gain in the process will help them to better understand money matters and later to make well-informed financial choices.

Interactive and digital trajectory

Visitors to the Wikifin Lab follow an interactive trajectory over an area of more than 1,000 square metres. Guided by digital tools, they complete a 2.45-hour journey. Interactivity plays an important role in the visit. Students work in turns individually, in groups of four and with the whole class, with the help of a facilitator.

In addition to the interactive trajectory, the Wikifin Lab also features a ‘knowledge wall’. It offers students explanations of certain financial concepts by means of fun objects.

Budget management as the common thread

The entire trajectory is centred on the question ‘How can I balance my budget?’ This key question is developed through a series of themes and approached from the following perspectives:

  • What influences my consumption behaviour?
  • Do I take risks with my savings? If so, what kinds of risks?
  • What are the consequences of my financial choices for me and for society?

In the final step in the visit, students watch a film in the auditorium. The film’s key message is ‘Do all it takes to accomplish your personal plans and dreams’ and its purpose is to equip visitor with the ability to make sound financial decisions later on.

Jean-Paul Servais, Chairman of the FSMA: ‘The Wikifin Lab gives young people insights into money matters and sharpens their interest and critical sense so they can make well-informed financial choices in their daily lives.’

Link to learning outcomes in school curricula

The Wikifin Lab has been developed in collaboration with teachers, educationalists and academics (KU Leuven, UCLouvain, ULB and Maastricht University) specialized in behavioural economics and gaming.

The trajectory is therefore designed to fit with the learning outcomes defined for the school curricula in Belgium’s Dutch and French linguistic communities.

The FSMA has adopted all the requisite safety and public health measures to be able to conduct school visits in accordance with government directives.

The Wikifin Lab is located at rue du Congrès / Congresstraat 18, Brussels, next door to the FSMA building.

For more information: www.wikifin-lab.be.

Would you like to visit the Wikifin Lab? Would you like to come along during a school visit? Or would you like to know more about the Wikifin Lab? If so, contact the FSMA via press@fsma.be.

About the FSMA and Wikifin​​​​​​​

The Wikifin Lab is an initiative of the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA). The FSMA supervises the Belgian financial sector. It has also been tasked by law with making a contribution to the financial education of citizens. To this end, in 2012 it set up a financial education programme under the name ‘Wikifin’.

As part of the Wikifin programme, the FSMA launched the website www.wikifin.be. There, consumers can find a treasury of neutral, reliable and practical information on money matters. Handy tools can help them, for example, choose a savings or current account or understand how an inheritance is divided up. The Wikifin website has proven very successful, with close to four million visitors per year.

The second pillar of the Wikifin programme is collaboration with the school system. Learning to manage money and acquiring good financial habits should start early if young people are to develop the right financial reflexes. To support teachers in their financial education classes, Wikifin offers free educational materials for primary and secondary schools. All the education materials are available on the www.wikifin.be/nl/wikifin-at-school platform. The materials were developed in collaboration with various educational networks and are aligned with the learning outcomes. Over 7,000 teachers to date have made use of the materials, which have been downloaded more than 72,000 times.

The Wikifin Lab is the third pillar of the programme, supplementing the educational materials for use in class. Students can experience a wide range of financial situations on-site that they will encounter in daily life. The Lab offers them the opportunity to improve their insight into basic financial mechanisms. They come away better informed and with an interest in taking charge of their own finances.