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Governments keen to invest more in entrepreneurship education

Tallinn, 17 November 2017

What more has to be done to include entrepreneurship in school programmes in Europe? Leading educationists and government officials from 9 European countries (Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Romania, and Turkey) attended a round table in Tallinn on 17 November at the invitation of the EE-HUB to grapple with this question. Their answers are set to guide the work of the EE-HUB and Europe’s policymakers in the months and years to come.

The challenge is acute. The European Commission said in 2010 that all young people should have the opportunity to have at least one practical entrepreneurship experience before leaving compulsory education. Today only around 20% do so. This is despite research showing that just 100 hours of entrepreneurship education has significant positive impact on not only entrepreneurial competences and intention but also students’ motivation, school performance and grade point average.

Many Member States have already taken action. They have:

  • Recognised that entrepreneurship education is a national priority
  • Built a broad-based political consensus in support
  • Developed implementation plans with a progression model towards concrete targets
  • Allocated longer term funding
  • Promoted cooperation between schools and businesses
  • Embedded entrepreneurship education in the training of teachers
  • Supported the dissemination of tools and methods
  • Been measuring progress
  • Encouraged support for start-ups.

Other Member States, without strategies today, are moving fast. Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia and are using the EE-HUB network for support to shape and implement their entrepreneurship education policy.

Encouraged by this momentum, round table participants renewed their sense of commitment to entrepreneurship education and agreed to intensify their efforts. They would like to see more attention placed on measuring progress and establishing benchmarks at national and local level. They explained that the issue is not necessarily a lack of resources but a problem with how effectively they are used. Content is available but teacher training is far from where it needs to be. It is rare to have a forum like this where Ministries can exchange experience and expertise. While there is a great deal of work being undertaken on policy generally, entrepreneurship education, being newer, needs specific attention.

Mailis Reps, Minister of Education and Research of the Republic of Estonia, said: “Lessons learned from our practice in implementing entrepreneurship education in Estonia are that collaboration between all relevant stakeholders is important but difficult and time-consuming to manage. Whilst implementation of entrepreneurship education systematically at all education levels is essential, integration of entrepreneurship education in all subjects is a challenge. We should not leave it to teachers to solve it but provide them with methodological tools and instruction. Evaluation of impact is far from straightforward, too, but it is very important if we are to see progress and identify success factors. It is also necessary to convince and gain trust from parents, educators, students, and politicians.”

An exchange of good practice at the round table concluded the following:

  • There had been good progress on cross-ministerial collaboration but specific focus was needed. Ministries of education have to take the lead and bring together other relevant ministries by acting as advocates for the importance of entrepreneurship education in relation not only to education but also to employment and economic growth.
  • Whilst the content of entrepreneurship education had developed with countries increasingly embedding it across all subject areas, there is a need to build the capacity of schools so that they can plan it within the curriculum. In countries where education is decentralized and schools have wide-ranging autonomy, schools need support to structure entrepreneurship education as multi-disciplinary work promoted consistently and systematically across all dimensions of school life including extra-curricular activities and teacher training.
  • There has been slow progress in monitoring entrepreneurship education activities with particular difficulties in measuring penetration rates. There is a need for a common definition that keeps in mind variations in the type and intensity of entrepreneurship education activities.
  • Very good progress in terms of resources for entrepreneurship education was reported but participants noted a lack of capacity from municipalities and schools to access them. Headmaster and teacher training were identified by many as one of the main constraints on the uptake of entrepreneurship education in schools. 
  • Participants looked to the EE-HUB to support their work in three areas in particular:
    o    Building a community where Ministries can exchange experience and expertise
    o    Defining benchmarks and standards for targets, monitoring and evaluation, and teacher training   
    o    Raising awareness and advocate for entrepreneurship education.

“Thanks to platforms like EE-HUB, more and more national governments are realizing the tremendous value they can derive from increased investment in EE, both for individuals and the economy. For the first time, we have important impact data in our hands and we are talking together about benchmarks. There is more momentum than ever,” said Caroline Jenner, CEO of JA Europe.

EE-HUB is part of the #SwitchOnEurope advocacy campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the European goal, set in 2010, that every young person should have a practical entrepreneurial experience before leaving compulsory education.

The European Entrepreneurship Education NETwork (EE-HUB) is a focal point for entrepreneurship education in Europe bringing together organizations and individuals from both the public and private sectors with strong records of accomplishment in entrepreneurship education at regional, national and European level. The EE-HUB is designed as the space where these stakeholders can work collectively to increase levels of entrepreneurial activities in schools across Europe. The network is led by JA Europe, in collaboration with EUROCHAMBERS, SEECEL and EUproVET. It is also supported by private partners including Cisco, Citi Foundation, EY, Intel and VISA. For more information, go to http://www.ee-hub.eu/

JA Europe is Europe’s largest provider of education programmes for entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy, reaching 3.6 million students in 40 countries in 2017.
JA Europe brings the public and private sectors together to provide young people in primary and secondary schools and early university with high-quality education programmes to teach them about enterprise, entrepreneurship, business and economics in a practical way. For more information, go to http://www.jaeurope.org/


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