The entrepreneurship curriculum is catching on in schools around the globe
Competition is increasing among private school applicants. Source: Shutterstock

Is entrepreneurship the answer to creating job-ready students? 

Ten years ago, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said: “Innovation and entrepreneurship provide a way forward for solving the global challenges of the 21st century, building sustainable development, creating jobs, generating renewed economic growth and advancing human welfare.”

Proponents of the entrepreneurship curriculum still believe this to be true.

While traditional subjects provide foundational knowledge to students, they may not necessarily be enough to prepare them for a future that’s vastly different from now. Many jobs will be lost to automation, and technological advancements will mean the creation of new jobs, which suggests some of the skills prized today may not necessarily be important in the future. 

Students will need to sharpen the skills that make them uniquely human, such as their creativity and critical thinking skills, to stand out from the crowd, and entrepreneurship education can equip students with that unique mode of thinking and more.

On The Aspen Institute, Tine Seelig, who teaches innovation and entrepreneurship at Stanford School of Engineering, said entrepreneurship education prepares students to identify and address challenges and opportunities in the world. She added that educators at all levels can help young people engage with the world around them and envision what might be different.

“Entrepreneurship can be taught using a similar scaffolding of skills, building upon our natural ability to imagine,” she said. For instance, she said “imagination is envisioning things that don’t exist” while “Creativity is applying imagination to address a challenge”. 

Unsurprisingly, some schools are already toying with the idea and are looking into implementing entrepreneurial education in their curriculum.

In Australia, ABC News reported that the NSW Education and Standards Authority (NESA) said there were already courses in the school curriculum that incorporated entrepreneurial skills. The report added that New South Wales is undertaking a curriculum review, which NESA said would set longer-term directions for curriculum change. This review will enable the community to identify gaps. 

Meanwhile, some schools across western Sydney are looking at implementing entrepreneurial education in their curriculum. 

Deputy President of the NSW Secondary Principals Council, Craig Peterson, said: “The focus they are looking at is ,’What exactly is it that we’re teaching these kids’ and probably more importantly, ‘How do you actually assess it in a meaningful way’.

“There is some really significant work being coordinated and done with the solid research base behind it, which will inform what a successful model of this type of education might look like.”

Eqyption Streets reported that Eqypt has adopted and implemented ‘Journey of Entrepreneurship’ (JOE), a Singaporean programme that introduces children and teens to entrepreneurship, in some private schools in the country. It teaches students entrepreneurial skills and helps them to develop business skills such as negotiating, creativity and risk taking.

In speaking about the importance of the JOE curriculum, JOE Egypt managing partner Nada Helmy said some parents do not understand the importance of teaching students entrepreneurship skills at a young age.

“One of the main things people keep bringing up is why eight years, why not in college? We learned about entrepreneurship in university, because we didn’t have the chance to do it earlier. The weight of the word entrepreneurship now is different from what it was in 2016, and the eco-system is very different. So now that children have the capacity to learn these skills at a younger age if communicated in the right way, why not develop it[?]” said Helmy to Eqyption Streets.

Over in Asia, Malaysia is already home to its own entrepreneurship school – Dwi Emas International School; while in India, the Delhi government launched the Entrepreneurship Mindset Curriculum Framework for government schools earlier this year.

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