Fri, 28 Feb, 2020

Introducing ‘entrepreneurship’ in curriculum

Embedding entrepreneurial education into formal curriculum is one of the most important ways to prepare our children for life beyond the classroom

12th December 2019, 03:07 Hrs

Dr Manasvi M Kamat

Entrepreneurial education in formal curriculum is all set to be a serious agenda in the country with the sweet news that ‘India has ranked among the top five nations globally in terms of entrepreneurial training in schools’. Latona’s LLC, the Mergers and Acquisitions Broking Firm, announced the above result by analyzing nations around the world on key indicators of entrepreneurial potential.  

The US-based company surveyed nations to reveal the world’s most entrepreneurial nations. Their findings imply that India scored 7.41 points out of 10 of the countries analyzed in terms of encouraging innovations and up-skilling using technology. India has fared well on most of the counts as per the survey. Besides ranking at the fourth-highest level of school stage entrepreneurial education, India is listed as the second-best entrepreneurial nation next to Chile with an overall score of 69 out of 100. India is also found to be the third most innovative nation and the fifth most fearful country in terms of failures.  

Individuals possessing special skills make a big difference when they join the mainstream of development by thinking differently. One of the meaningful ways through which this could be done is by designing, launching and running a new business or processes, called ‘entrepreneurship’. The more modern definitions of entrepreneurship are also about transforming the world by solving big problems, initiating social change, creating an innovative product or presenting a new life-changing solution. The survey results support the experiences that lessons for preparing for entrepreneurship included in the formal educational curriculum entail better results.  

Embedding entrepreneurial education into formal curriculum is one of the most important ways to prepare our children for life beyond the classroom. Today students need much more than a good academic grounding to excel, and learning linked to real-life situations is always more meaningful. If these enrichment inputs that teach students about entrepreneurship are introduced with formal education it helps students to grasp it well, experiment it early in life with some ideas, and achieve confidence in oneself. This may also empower young people to be the job creators of the future and not just job seekers.  

According to the World Economic Forum, 65 per cent of children entering primary school level education now will likely do work that does not currently exist, posing society with a challenge to identify as to what skill sets will be needed. Thus for the schools, it is imperative to think beyond the issues in employability, making students ‘job-ready’ and how they can attract recruiters.  

The modern-day educational curriculum must take the onus to create an environment that invigorates the passions of young minds, help them discover themselves, and later lead them to develop and follow their passions to use them effectively in a professional environment. The need is to teach students basic skill sets so they can transfer these to make their living also addressing new social needs. These life/transferable skills are the ones that could be used in all lines of work, including communication, etiquettes, critical thinking, data analysis, leadership, and business ethics.  

The Ministry of HRD since 2017 has implemented the scheme of Vocationalisation of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education across the country from Classes IX to XII in government secondary and higher secondary schools. This initiative was taken to expose students to newer skill-sets, identify new opportunities for self-development and prepare them for more job roles in various sectors that were identified. It is heartening to note that the States like Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh performed excellently well on this count to teach students vocational courses/streams. In this connection, three successful initiatives of introducing entrepreneurship at educational curriculum deserve a mention.  

The Delhi government, for instance, has started with ‘Entrepreneurship Mindset Curriculum’ from classes IX to XII to build awareness and knowledge of various aspects of entrepreneurship among students. Under this curriculum, all students are given Rs 1,000 each as seed money to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. This curriculum is introduced across 1,024 schools as a compulsory non-graded subject, comprising a 40-minute class every day. There are about seven lakh students who fall between classes IX to XII in these Delhi government-run schools. The government has reportedly allocated a budget of Rs 40-50 crore for this initiative to encourage entrepreneurship at the school level. This effort is being highly lauded in the country.  

The Institute for Entrepreneurship and Career Development (IECD) of Bharathidasan University has enrolled more than one lakh students in its skill development courses for the third consecutive year. This university was among the few in the country which had developed various programmes to facilitate school students to update their IT skills in different domains. The IECD, established to impart entrepreneurship and career development skills, admitted 82,812 students in 2016-17 under its various certificate programmes. In 2017-18, it enrolled 1,09,406 while the figure went up to 1,24,096 students in 2018-19 and a whopping 1,40,422 in 2019-20.  

The success story that could be cited is of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), Ludhiana. GADVASU bagged a prestigious World Bank project to the tune of Rs 30 crore for its project ‘Improving learning Outcome, Skill and Entrepreneurship’ a first-of-its kind aimed to improve the competency and skill of undergraduate students, apart from the modernisation of classrooms. 

The recent results of the Latona’s survey will ensure another shot in our arm. This also calls for special attention towards the children who are at greater risk of dropping out of schools such as girl children, orphans, child-labourers, street children and victims of riots and natural disasters. 

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