Entrepreneurial spirit knows no boundaries
Thematic Area: Education and business
Developing an entrepreneurial mindset among all of Europe’s citizens is essential if the continent is to recover from its worst economic recession in more than half a century, participants heard at the Zagreb ‘high level reflection panel on entrepreneurship education’ on 18 March.
The two-day event, jointly organised by the European Commission, European Training Foundation and the Croatian government, brought together representatives from eleven EU partner countries to share ideas on creating an entrepreneurial culture within their societies.
The final in a five-part series of meetings held throughout the EU in the last twelve months – and the first to involve non-member states – the panel is seen as a crucial part of ETF partner countries’ drive to create stronger, more innovative and more entrepreneurial economies.
‘We are here to learn from you,’ said ETF’s Director, Madlen Serban asking the high-level education and economy officials, as well as representatives of business, to bring ideas to the table, share good practice and to put forward options for improving entrepreneurial learning.
Marko Curavic, Head of Unit in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry, reminded participants that small and medium-sized businesses were responsible for 80% of new jobs created in the EU in the past five years. ‘We need to determine how our education systems can better contribute to a more enterprise-oriented economy where jobs and wealth are created,’ he said. Involving partner countries from South Eastern Europe, Turkey and the Southern Mediterranean to participate in sharing experiences about entrepreneurship education reflected the importance of the mission, continued Curavic. ‘You are joining this process as equals. In this context there is no difference between EU member states and others.’
Peter Baur, Deputy Head of Unit at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture, agreed that learning from each other was key to tackling common problems. ‘We are living in a time in Europe where we are seeing unemployment figures not seen for ten years and more,’ he said. ‘People have the knowledge, strengths and innovative capability to address the challenges of getting to the knowledge economy. It is very important that lifelong learning, education and training are considered the main vehicles for achieving this.’
The high-level panel was formally opened by Croatian education and economy ministries. Radovan Fuchs, education minister said that entrepreneurship programmes at schools and vocational institutes over the past ten years had proven very popular with young people but that shifting the mindset of older Croats remained a challenge. Tajana Sapic-Kesic, State Secretary for Entrepreneurship at the economy ministry, outlined the efforts by her ministry to create a policy framework to bring forward life-long entrepreneurial learning.
The outcomes of the panel discussions will be posted on ETF and European Commission websites in early April.
Put simply, lifelong learning means that people can – and should have the opportunity to – learn throughout their lives.
Increased labour mobility across borders brings the skills issue onto the international agenda so the ETF also focuses on policy actions related to skills and employment of both emigrants and returnees.
The ETF aims to develop the capacity of partner country institutions and other stakeholders in developing, monitoring and reviewing policies in the areas of entrepreneurial learning and enterprise skills.
“Employment”: promoting better functioning and inclusive labour markets and vocational education and training systems in ETF partner countries.
The ETF's role in qualifications is to provide expertise for the reform of qualifications systems in partner countries, in their various stages of planning and implementation.
Teachers are a critical factor in education reforms. The ETF takes therefore the role of schools and teachers seriously throughout its work.
Quality assurance is provided through the development of methodological instruments to facilitate a structured policy learning process, integrating quality assurance principles, and reinforcing the quality assurance dimension in the Torino Process.
Governance modes and models have a high correlation with the overall performance of education and training policies, influencing their strategic formulation and implementation.