Al Hilal Bank, a leading Islamic Bank in the UAE, has signed a pioneering Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Emirates National Schools (ENS) on the implementation of an education project that will enhance students’ awareness on Islamic banking and personal finance. The initiative, which will be applied across ENS’ local school curriculum at all grade levels, aims to inform students about the mechanism of Islamic banks and familiarise them with Islamic banking terminologies and Islamic banking products. The agreement complements Al Hilal’s strategic plans to help promote a better economy, build future leaders and contribute to social development in line with Abu Dhabi Vision 2030.
H.E. Ahmed Mohammed Al Humairi, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of Emirates National Schools, has welcomed the Memorandum of Understanding with Al Hilal Bank, pointing out that cooperation between an educational institution and a banking institution is an innovative idea that offers several educational benefits. He said that Islamic banks today increasingly play a key role in disseminating a banking and financial culture among new generations, who represent a major component of the local and regional labour market. Al Humairi praised the community initiatives of Al Hilal Bank, pointing that these initiatives contribute to increasing awareness on aspects such as how to save, invest and spend money rationally.
The MoU was signed by Mohammed Jamil Berro, CEO of Al Hilal Bank, and Dr. Kenneth Vedra, Director General of Emirates National Schools, in the presence of H.E. Ahmed Mohammed Al Humairi, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of Emirates National Schools. It lays the groundwork for mutual cooperation between both parties and aims to build potential future leaders through the student-oriented educational project on banking awareness.
Commenting on this occasion, Berro said that the MoU lays the foundation for cooperation to raise awareness about managing money wisely and creating a healthy spending habit among the youth. He pointed that the MoU with ENS, the first of its kind in the UAE, is part of efforts to address the matter and make students more aware of the best financial and banking mechanisms, about saving and spending wisely, and recognizing the true value of money. One of the key objectives of the MoU is to develop a younger generation with well-rounded knowledge and skills on banking and financial management. The project targets students from all grade levels who will be taught basic conventional and Islamic banking concepts, with a main focus on their significant role in society and latest products and services. The theory-based course will be backed by practical education programs on bank accounting.
The project further aims to enhance awareness and appreciation among youths and the next generations on the value and proper use of money. Students will be taught how to save and budget their personal finances wisely and avoid falling into debt. Today’s youths often lack the information needed to properly manage their current and future finance. Al Hilal Bank is thus reaffirming its important role in enabling the youth by enhancing their banking and financial skills through the collaborative project with ENS. The bank aims to keep on building new partnerships and programs to bring the young generation closer to a proper culture of spending.
Al Hilal Bank will educate students on financial accountability and help them gain a deeper understanding on the nature of current banking and financial products and services and how their proper management can have a positive impact on their financial welfare. Given the increasing complexity yet greater availability of financial products, financial institutions have the obligation to promote financial literacy by advocating mandatory education and guidance on the matter. Al Hilal bank believes that financial education is the cornerstone of successful personal financial management.
“Through this new project, we aim to equip students with the necessary skills and managerial culture to better handle their financial affairs. Through this program we hope to raise more awareness and knowledge on the value of money and Islamic banking across the UAE’s educational sector. We intend to employ the best professionals and qualified competencies to execute the project,” Berro added.
“I would like to note that this program can be implemented at the government level as well. Governments and authorities all over the world are embracing the importance of financial awareness and the need to develop programs that explain key banking concepts to society. With international economies pursuing more growth worldwide, we need to ensure that people are adept at financial management and investment. Banking awareness can pave the way to more financial stability and wealth,” he said.
“Moreover, this initiative with ENS clearly asserts Al Hilal Bank’s strong desire to play an important role in helping Abu Dhabi achieve its 2030 Vision,” Berro concluded.
The project will be implemented across all ENS branches and will be initially observed in terms of student turnout, response, and effectiveness of educational materials. It will include a special evaluation mechanism to gather the necessary information to assess its implementation and gather suggestions and new ideas for further improvements. A joint committee of three members from both parties will be formed to determine and agree on implementation mechanisms and frameworks as well as the specific terms of the MoU.
Dr. Vedra noted that the MoU reflects a unique initiative for developing the views of students and expanding their intellectual and practical knowledge in the fields of banking and economy. He pointed out that through this program, Emirates National Schools seeks to urge students to learn more about the local economy. The entity is keen to,help students enhance their knowledge of financial matters that will enable them in the future to understand all the economic indicators that have an impact on the financial market in the United Arab Emirates.
Under the agreement, Al Hilal Bank shall shoulder the expenses for the implementation of the project in accordance with the terms stipulated by the joint committee. The bank will also provide professional and well-qualified competencies to lead the program and will assume responsibility for all implementation works and requirements as agreed upon by the committee.
For its part, ENS shall collaborate on the implementation mechanism with Al Hilal Bank and provide the necessary support and facilities to the bank. It will also coordinate with Al Hilal and all other related parties in ensuring the best implementation. ENS is also ought to apply the program across all its branches and at all grade levels.
Al Hilal Bank is fully owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, the investment body of the Abu Dhabi Government. It serves local customers through 22 branches and over 112 ATMs spread across the UAE as well as three overseas branches in Kazakhstan.