Re-calibrate National Education Provision

“We need to embed entrepreneurship education in the DNA of every nation’s education provision, from kindergarten through 12th Grade.”   Jeremy Lefroy, Intl. Youth Job Creation Summit, September 2013

There are several policy levers governments can use to change mindsets. The first, obviously, is to recalibrate national education provision to embed entrepreneurship training at every level of a child’s school experience. Meanwhile, schools can form strong links with local businesses, inviting successful entrepreneurs into classrooms to share their experiences. Career guidance, project-based learning and encounters with the world of work should be part of every child’s experience growing up. And every child who shows a scintilla of interest in setting up a business should have access to ‘ideation’ sessions (brainstorming business ideas) leading to courses in how to write viable business plans. Changing youth mindsets will not just happen in the classroom. It should happen in jobs clubs, at meals with family and friends, and in the media. Policymakers only have to start the process.

Recalibrate national education provision to include entrepreneurship: Everyone considers basic skills such literacy, numeracy and critical thinking vital for every child. Entrepreneurship education is equally vital and can motivate pupils to learn these basic skills. After all, you have to be literate and numerate in order to write a business plan and prepare a budget.  With most primary schools in sub-Saharan Africa delivering low literacy rates among graduates (less than one in five in some schools), the challenge of motivating students to read and write can be helped by the incentive of using those skills to earn money. In West Africa, where many of the young rural women who arrived for Peace Child International’s (PCI) business plan creation training were uneducated, the temptation of a PCI loan to start or grow a business was enough to get many registered for remedial literacy and numeracy lessons provided by PCI’s Be the Change Academies.

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