Schools shine at JSE trading challenge
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DURBAN – Gansbaai Academia and Mpumelelo Secondary School have both clinched tops spots in the ongoing JSE Investment Challenge, which enables learners to learn more about finance and investments.
The JSE Investment Challenge introduces young learners, from grades 8 to 12, to the world of finance and investments, and runs annually between March and September. Participating schools choose one or more investment portfolios to manage, with their performance tracked and measured over the duration of the competition.
The JSE Investment Challenge’s primary goal is to drive financial literacy among South African youth and expose them to the dynamics of the JSE.
“We want to ensure that when learners and students leave the education environment, they understand how to use their disposable income and acquire healthy saving habits,” says Ralph Speirs, CSI officer at the JSE.
The Investment Challenge is the JSE’s flagship project for retail investor education and part of its corporate social investment (CSI) initiatives.
This year’s May category winners were Mpumelelo Secondary School, trading as Smart Minds Traders, under the Income portfolio; Gansbaai Academia, trading as Goal Digger, under the Equity portfolio; and Crawford College, La Lucia, trading as JSE Warriors, under the Speculator portfolio.
Jun-Ne’ Figland, an accounting teacher at Gansbaai Academia who mentors the Grade 12 learners in team “Goal Digger", says she is proud of the all-girls team for breaking all stereotypes, and that her learners are enjoying the competition and learning more about how the JSE works.
"Before our school took part in the JSE Investment Challenge, investment literature was of little interest to them. Today, they get visibly excited when they pick up newspapers and read about company news,” says Figland.
She says the competition has been an eye-opener for the learners whose understanding of investments was rather limited before joining the competition.
“Most of them imagined that when you invest money, it just grows exponentially regardless of what the economic conditions were or what was happening inside the company itself,” adds Figland.
She says the competition has also helped broaden the learners’ expectations about future career paths.
“Our school is based in a rural community and many of our learners thought if you study accounting, the only career path open to you will be that of an accountant.
“Because of the competition, they are gaining knowledge about other potential career paths in the world of finance such as risk management, stockbroking, investment banking, fund management, and so on,” says Figland.
Sizwe Mtshweni, a teacher from Mpumelelo Secondary School in Mpumalanga, is a mentor of several teams participating in this year’s competition.
In the past three months, his teams have won three monthly prizes. “I see this as an incredible achievement by our school," says Mtshweni.
Mtshweni says the principal, who keeps a close eye on how the learners are performing on all fronts including the Investment Challenge, was also amazed at the learners’ winning streak.
He has started a campaign to raise funds to enter more teams into the competition, and believes that the campaign will also create more awareness in the community about the benefits of the competition.
"We believe in the competition and what it is doing for our learners and the community."