Teenomics: Snapchat, FB, Whatsapp, Instagram, Pinterest and..Econ!
Introducing Teenomics: where economics is fun!
As a teen, I had no cell phone. I had no laptop. I had no scientific calculator. I also had no Economics for a subject.
Knowledge of Economics came in passing – while at the dining table, listening; while near the living room, eves-dropping; while glancing through the newspapers, most ignoring the Business pages. Formal education about the financial world only hit some of us when we went to college.
But then, that was thirty years ago. (Gosh!)
It’s no longer the same for today’s teens – the Business Page of every newspaper has become a subject as more and more International schools find their way into countries that previously confined themselves to local curriculum. High Schools now give the choice to learn Economics and Drama as main subjects, even in India. The twain can actually meet now - who would’ve thought!
All sounds great on paper. But what about those innovative gadgets and the irrepressible addiction among teenagers to be connected all the time via cyberspace? How much of Econ talk must pass between messages, one wonders. Is it just rote or is Econ a subject that a young mind, distracted by innumerable innuendos, welcomes in his student life.
A Recent article on WSJ said American teenagers have become more aware of economics but not more informed. A survey by the U.S. Department of Education tested 11,000 12th graders in nearly 500 schools and found that even though more students receive economics education compared to six years ago, “knowledge” isn’t reflected in test results.
The new world is one where acronyms and abbreviations dominate speed texting, where words and phrases, while written simply have diverse connotations. In this world of “Lols” and “WTFs” and sentences that don’t respect a full-stop, Economics walks in with its conservative fangs, business jargons and data flurries, often only to alert the students that econ surveys represent a sample and can be debated as humbug. How confusing is that?
More than anything, what every learning needs is background and context. Here at Quint, we’d like to swing at that - to dumb it down for the teens by taking them a few chapters back to give a historical perspective, weaving in geo-politics and business as we go along. We’d like this to be a Quintessential space where teens can ask, debate, question and argue. – after they have read each topic carefully.
And once in a while, we won’t mind the Lols and WTFs.
Teenomics is a column that demystifies economics for young adults. Kavita Chandran is a Reuters journalist. The views expressed here are her own.
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