Tuesday, 18 June 2013

New Policy Briefing on Entrepreneurial Learning

New ETF Policy Briefing tackles Entrepreneurial Learning
The new ETF policy briefing “Entrepreneurial Learning: Keystone to an Entrepreneurial Future” considers the challenges and potential of strategic promotion of entrepreneurial learning. Primarily targeted at policy makers from transition and emerging economies, it argues for a model of lifelong entrepreneurial learning, in which policy development and systemic reforms are benchmarked and assessed.

The context
Increasingly open markets, volatile economies and concerns about unemployment are the backdrop to a dialogue among European Union (EU) countries on how governments, the private sector and civic society meet the challenges of competitiveness and jobs. Addressing this challenge, the EU has made entrepreneurship promotion a top priority.

Entrepreneurial learning and EU neigbours
Anthony Gribben, ETF expert in entrepreneurial learning and the author of the briefing, writes that integral to the EU’s entrepreneurship drive is encouraging countries in neighbouring regions undergoing significant institutional and policy reforms to adopt more strategic approaches to entrepreneurial learning across their education and training systems. This forms part of a wider support package, which includes the ETF’s services, to help economies to be competitive and inclusive.

Key role of teachers
The document also highlights the need for education authorities to engage the teaching profession at all steps in promoting entrepreneurial learning. Teachers’ buy-in and their technical preparation are crucial for entrepreneurial learning programmes to succeed.

What is entrepreneurial learning?
The term ‘entrepreneurial learning’ centres round two core principles:
• All individuals should be encouraged to be more entrepreneurial whether or not they have ambitions to start a business. Entrepreneurial employees will be innovative and adaptable in fast-changing economies, seeking out opportunities and making for efficient resource managers – the entrepreneurial traits that are essential for a productive workplace.
• Entrepreneurial learning comprises all forms of education and training – formal, non-formal (what is learnt outside standard education curricula) and informal (what is learnt incidentally) – contributing to a more entrepreneurial mind-set and behaviour.
Read more in the policy briefing

Entrepreneurship education key to sustainable economic upswing

All rights reserved © Thomas_EyeDesign/iStockphotoEducation is an essential element of entrepreneurship. Studies show that students who receive entrepreneurship education are not only more likely to be employed, but also more likely to start their own companies. With that in mind, the European Commission has proposed a series of actions that will help expose students to entrepreneurship and, as a result, help create jobs throughout Europe.

Entrepreneurial education is one of the best ways to support growth and generate jobs. New businesses are the single biggest source of new jobs in Europe – and education, to be sure, helps create businesses.

Between 15 % and 20 % of secondary-school students who participate in a mini-company programme – in which students develop or simulate the operations of a real firm – will later start their own companies. This figure is three to six times higher than the general population, highlighting the impact that entrepreneurial education can have on young Europeans.
And even those who don’t start businesses are still better positioned in the job market. According to recent research, 78 % of entrepreneurship education alumni were employed directly after graduating university, compared to just 59 % of a control group of higher education students.

The role of higher education in entrepreneurship goes far beyond classroom teaching and incorporates participation in business ecosystems, partnerships and industrial alliances. With high-tech and high-growth enterprises becoming a focal point of entrepreneurship-related public policies, higher education institutions are an essential component of Member State and EU innovation policies.
However, despite the obvious benefits afforded by this type of specialised education, a recent Eurobarometer Entrepreneurship survey shows that three-quarters of Europeans have never taken part in an entrepreneurship course. Thus, in order to exploit the potential of entrepreneurship education and promote the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, the Commission is proposing a number of actions, including those to:
  • reinforce cooperation with Member States to introduce entrepreneurship education in each country;
  • support public administrations wishing to learn from successful peers;
  • develop a pan-European entrepreneurial learning initiative for impact analysis, knowledge sharing, development of methodologies and peer mentoring;
  • collaborate with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to establish a guidance framework to encourage the development of entrepreneurial schools;
  • disseminate the entrepreneurial university guidance framework, and facilitate exchanges between universities interested in applying it.
Member States are encouraged to:
  • ensure that the key competence ’entrepreneurship’ is embedded into curricula across primary, secondary, vocational, higher and adult education before the end of 2015;
  • offer young people at least one practical entrepreneurial experience before leaving compulsory education, such as running a mini-company or being responsible for an entrepreneurial project for a company or a social project;
  • boost entrepreneurial training for young people and adults with resources which support national job plans, particularly as a tool for second-chance education for those not engaged in education, employment or training;
  • promote entrepreneurial learning modules for young people participating in national Youth Guarantee schemes.

Projects to support entrepreneurship education

Nine projects co-funded by the Commission have already benefitted roughly 6 500 students and young people and 900 teachers. Together, these projects’ indirect effects – which come from dissemination, information activities, production of pedagogical materials, etc. – ensured that they reached at least 100 000 young people.
However, the added value of these European projects lies in their potential for extension, transfer and wider dissemination within the Member States:
  • The Entrepreneurship Summer Academies gave 320 higher education professors, lecturers and assistant professors advanced training on how to teach entrepreneurship. All of these educators committed to become ambassadors of entrepreneurial learning in their respective institutions, thus ensuring a multiplier effect.
  • Creative, innovative pedagogical materials were prepared to be used in the classroom. Work on real business cases is one of the most effective ways to learn about entrepreneurship, but this method is not yet sufficiently widespread, and very often case studies are imported from the United States and do not have a local, European dimension. Thanks to this initiative, 88 new case studies were created, all based on European businesses.
  • Seven new projects aim to address some of the main obstacles that still stand in the way of increasing entrepreneurship education and student participation, such as:
    • training primary, secondary and higher education teachers, because qualified teachers are the largest bottleneck in providing entrepreneurship education;
    • creating a European online platform for educators to facilitate peer coaching, mentoring and advising to broaden support and exchanges beyond national borders;
    • developing new methods and indicators to assess entrepreneurial skills acquired by students.
Among the project coordinators and partners are some of the most important players in the field, like leading universities in entrepreneurship, NGOs and research institutions.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

The Entrepreneurial School

The project The Entrepreneurial School wants to produce a Virtual Guide to Entrepreneurial Learning.In this guide, it will have 75-100 entrepreneurial tools and methods organised in 35 teacher-friendly packages.
The materials will be for both for primary, secondary, upper secondary and vocational schools. In addition, initial teacher training and continuous professional development is a main focus.
The intent is to make it easy for teachers to apply entrepreneurial learning in any subject area and for any age group.Schools will have access to a quality framework and assessment tool which helps educators set milestones and assess progress.
‘The Entrepreneurial School’ won co-funding from the European Community, Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP).
The aim of the CIP programme is to promote projects with a high-added value at the European level in education for entrepreneurship.
The Entrepreneurial School will train over 4000 teachers in the next 3 years across 18 countries.