Thousands of schoolchildren will be taught how China’s stock market works when Guangdong authorities introduce a new “finance and investment” course later this year.

Some 10,000 primary, secondary and high school students in Guangzhou will be taught the subject as part of a pilot programme, with older pupils trading in simulated markets, according to the Southern Metropolis Daily.

The news comes after stock markets around the world were rocked by a financial meltdown in the world’s second largest economy. China’s stocks have plunged by 43 percent since June 12.

Guangzhou primary school students. Photo:

The programme was a direct response to the central government’s call for financial knowledge to be included in national education in order to better protect the rights of small investors, according to a government document released last Friday.

More than 80 teachers have been trained by market regulators to teach the course, the document published by China Securities Regulatory Commission’s Guangdong branch said.

Commentators in the Chinese social media were split on the new school subject. Some said it would be very useful as kids have to learn how to manage their finances sooner or later, while others slammed educational authorities as “shameless” for teaching kids to overvalue money.

“The day when everyone in the country is trading stocks is the day when the national economy falls apart,” one user from Beijing commented on microblogging site Weibo. His comment was liked over 50 times.

However, another rebutted: “Nonsense! This stuff is much more useful than what they are teaching kids now in math class.”

Photo: 2 dogs

Chinese stock markets had been on an impressive bull run since mid 2014 until recently, when they made a dramatic downturn.

The boom had attracted tens of thousands of people, young and old, to the stock market.

More than 60% of the new investors have an education level lower than high school, a survey by the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in March showed.

Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.