9 to 10-Year Old Kids Developed Financial Literacy App with Mentors from OCBC

16 November 2015

Yu Neng Primary School students with mentors from OCBC

(Left to right, clockwise) Goh Siow Cheun from OCBC, Toh Yi Xuan, Cheryl Ho, Ricky Boon from OCBC, Seng Hui Ting and Charmaine Thoi

Huddled around a desk, a group of students from Yu Neng Primary School worked intently on their computers, with nary a word, saved for the occasional outburst of laughter. Cheryl Ho, Seng Hui Ting, Charmaine Thoi, and Toh Yi Xuan were not just working on another school project; instead they were developing a mobile game application for Singapore’s longest established bank, OCBC.

Between the ages of 9 to 10, the students are part of Yu Neng Primary School’s Infocomm Clubs. Initiated by IDA, Infocomm Clubs is a co-curricular activity (CCA) for primary, secondary and junior college students, aimed at improving students’ infocomm skills along with nurturing their leadership and creative capabilities.

Back in 2014, Yu Neng Primary School participated in the enrichment programme – Code for Fun – an initiative jointly developed by Ministry of Education and Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA). Under the initiative, students spent 20 hours learning Scratch and tinkered with robotics kit. The students were able to turn coding into a fun and meaningful interaction through the use of simple logical thinking and animation.  200 Primary 4 students also tinkered with 3D models on the IDA Lab on Wheels. With the nation-wide move towards building a Smart Nation, you do not have to be a geek to comprehend the intricacies of building tech products and services.

Last year, OCBC approached Yu Neng Primary School to collaborate and develop a mobile application that could align with the OCBC Mighty Savers programme. OCBC approached Yu Neng Primary School because they were aware of the school’s reputation as a strong educational provider with infocomm capabilities.

Yu Neng Primary School students with mentors from OCBC

Over the time span of 7 months, OCBC employees worked closely with the girls to develop a mobile app called Mighty Savers, a financial literacy game that teaches youngsters how to save. The students’ teachers discussed how significant this opportunity is: It’s great hands-on experience and the students find it very exciting to be able to contribute to society.” The students themselves loved working on this project, especially with the help of OCBC mentors: “The first time we started, we had a lot of questions but our mentors guided us and helped us a lot.”

Ricky Boon and Goh Siow Chuen, both OCBC software developers, were surprised by how fast the students learned and were impressed by their abilities to think outside of the box.  Ricky and Siow Chuen hope that this project will inspire more girls to take up coding and join the tech field: “Right now there isn’t a lot of females in the industry and we hope for that to change in the future.”

Industry partnerships like the one between OCBC and Yu Neng Primary School are important because it allows students to bring their projects to actualisation. Students gain tremendous confidence skills when they realise that they are working on something that can be used in real life. The girls excitedly proclaimed: “We can’t wait for our friends and family to play our game!”

Mighty Savers will be available for download on iTunes and Google Play on November 16th.

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