Pupils to be given shopping lessons

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The Independent Online
CHILDREN AS young as fivecould be given lessons to make them more discerning shoppers, the Government said yesterday. They would be taught to compare food prices, to understand labels and about their legal rights.

The Department of Trade and Industry is producing a "consumer strategy" that will look at the advice and information available to shoppers.

A spokeswoman said: "We are considering how to reach people of all ages and how they can get a better understanding of all the information available to them. This could be done in a number of ways, including in lessons."

The Consumer Affairs minister, Kim Howells, told The Sunday Telegraph: "We want to prepare children for purchasing and assessing what is a good buy.

"Giving them information could help them make choices about healthy eating and prepare them for buying pensions.

"The way to get the best price and the best-quality goods is by pushing up the quality of consumer demand and by introducing an outside element of competition."

The idea is unlikely to receive unconditional support from teachers, who are already worried that their time is overloaded by the demands of the national curriculum.

A National Union of Teachers spokesman said the idea was "terrific" but that it went outside the national curriculum. "The problem is there are only 24 hours in a day," he added.

A Department for Education and Employment spokesman said: "There are no plans to make these lessons part of the statutory curriculum but they might be useful in preparing children for adult life."