Articles taggés avec ‘Lisbon Strategy’

EU Funding: Educating for enterprise in Europe

Jeudi 28 août 2008

If the European Union is to meet the “growth and jobs” objectives of the Lisbon strategy, it must foster a more enterprise-friendly culture

 

 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for projects that promote entrepreneurship and innovation culture.
 Award aiming at raising awareness of enterprise activities and celebrate entrepreneurial success

The crucial role of education in promoting more entrepreneurial attitudes is now widely recognised and an ongoing EU project is looking in depth at how to foster greater entrepreneurial awareness in higher education curricula.

The ‘entrepreneurial gap’ between Europe and other countries, notably the USA, has been identified as a barrier to economic growth: Whilst in Europe only 45% of the population would like to be entrepreneurs, in the USA the equivalent figure is over 60%. This is largely due to cultural factors, and low awareness of the advantages of starting your own business. Teaching young people about entrepreneurship and equipping them with basic entrepreneurial skills, whatever their area of study, has been identified as a key way of increasing Europe’s enterprise potential.

The wider picture

The Entrepreneurship in Higher Education project was launched in 2006 with the objective of analysing the current state of play in Europe with regard to the teaching of entrepreneurship in higher education, particularly in non-business courses. It consists of two main parts: an expert group(1) report and a Europe-wide survey.

The Expert Group met six times in Brussels over a period of two years and its final report was published in April 2008. It is now being widely disseminated to ministries and educational institutes in all Member States.

The ‘Entrepreneurship in higher education, especially in non-business studies’ report provides a preliminary overview of the teaching of entrepreneurship in higher education institutes in Europe, with particular attention to entrepreneurship training in non-business studies. It attempts to identify obstacles to the provision of teaching in this area and highlight examples of good practice, while examining the potential role of public policy in improving the current situation.

Open for business

The experts’ report finds that the teaching of entrepreneurship is not yet sufficiently integrated in the curricula of higher education institutions and that the majority of entrepreneurship courses are offered as part of business and economic studies. Teaching of entrepreneurship is particularly weak in some of the new Member States. This is in part due to a lack of financial and human resources for this type of education, but also to a certain rigidity in institutional structures and educational curricula.

Teaching entrepreneurship requires an inter-disciplinary and action-oriented approach, including, for example, group and team techniques for creating new business ideas, the use of case studies and multi-disciplinary business planning workshops. At present, teaching staff have few incentives to get involved in this type of activity, and links with the business sector need to be cultivated more widely.

A range of solutions

In order for entrepreneurship education to be integrated more widely in non-business studies, action is required at several levels. For public policy, the experts suggest national task forces be set up to examine how best to integrate entrepreneurship into curricula from primary to advanced levels, as well as the adoption of legislation to support relations between private business and universities. It also proposes the development of an accreditation system and the establishment of awards for institutions which lead the way in this field.

At institutional level, they propose a range of initiatives aimed at fostering a more entrepreneurial culture within each institution, and creating incentives for the involvement of students, teaching staff and external organisations. There is also a role for the European Commission, which could support programmes for the training of entrepreneurship teachers and the creation of European networks and cross-border exchange initiatives.

The experts report moreover provides several examples of good practice and suggests a number of possible courses of action which would help to foster better integration of entrepreneurship studies in European education. The report will, however, be supplemented by a more in-depth survey, across all Member States, the results of which are due to be released in autumn 2008.

 
  Source:
Enterprise & Industry online magazine

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