4) Entrepreneurship Education: Enabling Teachers as a Critical Success Factor

Front coverAuthors: ECORYS UK Limited                 Date: 2011

The aim was to bring together practitioners and policy makers from across Europe to determine how to develop effective teacher education systems for entrepreneurship. The report is based on the contents of the two Symposia, and includes a “Budapest Agenda on Enabling Teachers for Entrepreneurship Education”.

Key Findings:

The report furthers..

“..a broader definition which sees entrepreneurship education as a process through which learners acquire a broad set of competencies can bring greater individual, social and economic benefits since the competencies acquired lend themselves to application in every aspect of people's lives. Entrepreneurship in this sense refers to an individual's ability to turn ideas into action. It includes creativity, innovation, showing initiative and risk-taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects in order to achieve objectives. This supports everyone in day-to-day life at home and in society, makes employees more aware of the context of their work and better able to seize opportunities, and provides a foundation for entrepreneurs establishing a social or commercial activity.”

Entrepreneurship education was found to be a part of national strategy in most countries. However partnerships involved in their development and implementation were in need of more systematic development especially with regards to the involvement of social partners. Furthermore, entrepreneurship education needed to become more commonly treated as a key competence across subjects rather than a business related and or separate subject. Individual teachers were seen as central key but the evidence shows that they also need external support.

In comparison, the role of teacher education in the development of entrepreneurship was viewed as ‘lagging behind’. It was not included in most initial teacher education and continuing professional development.              

Large corporations for example may be willing participants in collaborations with schools, but though they may offer good experience of the private sector that is not the same as offering the opportunity to acquire entrepreneurial skills. Careful selection of partners is therefore required. P. 31

  • Assessment of pupils and students

Student assessment methods are also needed which evaluate them against appropriate criteria related more to the essential features of entrepreneurship such as learning from mistakes, risk taking, innovation and creativity, rather than knowledge acquisition. If such methods don’t change, the job of the teacher as facilitator will be impossible to realise fully in practice

  • The Budapest Agenda

Following the Oslo Agenda for Entrepreneurship Education this report proposed ‘The Budapest Agenda’ which focused on the need for professional development including initial to continuing teacher education and which specified actions for a wide range of stakeholders. The intention being that suggested measures can be tailored to the individual stakeholder’s needs. The implications of the Budapest agenda are summarised below.

Focus of Study

The report is intended as a “The report is a repository of information and good practice, for both policy makers and practitioners, on how to enable teachers to take on a new role in the classroom (as "facilitators" of learning), use innovative and entrepreneurial  methods of teaching, help young people to develop entrepreneurial mind-sets and skills. ”

The following areas were considered to be Key Challenges

  • How to help primary and secondary school teachers to become agents of change through initial teacher education;
  • How to encourage and enable in-service teachers to engage in entrepreneurship education through continuing professional development;
  • How to develop teachers as facilitators of learning;
  • How to develop support systems for teachers
  • How to develop the role of the school and its community to help teachers to provide learning opportunities in entrepreneurship.

Authority and Credibility:

The report provides a synthesis and elaboration of the views of teachers and policy makers from across Europe and thus provides a comprehensive snapshot of opinion at the time of publication. The report was funded as part of an E.U. programme of development in relation to E.E. which has been very influential within different states of the union.

Implications & Comments:

  • Life Wide Learning

The report introduces the idea of E.E. being part of Life Wide Learning which complements lifelong learning based on the work of Redecker et al (2011)

The report emphasises the concept of teacher as a ‘facilitator of learning’. From the current reviewers’ perspective this might minimise the importance of the knowledge, skills and awareness that an experienced teacher of E.E. can bring to the classroom and also utilise to reach out from the classroom to organise relevant and challenging experiences for learners that make use of the available external business and community expertise.

The following model is proposed:(select the image to enlarge it)

Model of an E.E. Teacher





  • Creativity in Schools:

Teachers also feel that educational and school cultures do not fully support them in fostering creative and innovative approaches to learning; this requires time to explore new approaches and a culture that encourages experimentation and allows for failure - in short, an environment that itself embodies the characteristics of entrepreneurialism. 1.3

Following the Oslo Agenda for Entrepreneurship Education this report proposed ‘The Budapest Agenda’ which focused on the need for professional development including initial to continuing teacher education and which specified actions for a wide range of stakeholders. The intention being that suggested measures can be tailored to the individual stakeholder’s needs.

  • The Budapest Agenda has four items:

1. Initial Teacher Education

Entrepreneurship modules should be compulsory for all student teachers. The curriculum should use the same pedagogy as that preferred for use with students that emphasises active learning, authentic tasks and practical tasks. There should be a continuity of experience between teacher education programmes and host schools with opportunities for internships, placements and shadowing built on sustainable and systematic business partnerships.

Take into account existing entrepreneurial skills among candidates and build on them in set tasks. Develops assessment methods for transversal entrepreneurial skills.

2. National Support

Develop national strategies based on a share vision of the teacher as facilitator and coach. Make E.E. a mandatory part of the curriculum with minimum standards in quality frameworks and labeled recognition for innovative practice. Put in place assessment measures that are sympathetic to the advocated teaching approaches for E.E. Ensure that there are incentives for entrepreneurial teachers including rewards, tool kits, resource centres and recognised centre of expertise.  Develop communication channels between all stakeholders and establish communities of entrepreneurial teachers.

3. Continuing Professional Development

Prioritise entrepreneurial skills in selection and recruitment.. Build on existing active earning opportunities and links to form a school strategy that includes appropriate assessment methods.  Set up links with entrepreneurs and businesses and develop mentorship programmes. Ensure national strategies support professional development with funding based upon good practice criteria. Encourage all teachers to ‘buy in’ to professional development in E.E. possibly through the use of ‘champions’

4. Local school support

Develop development plans in schools that communicate a vision of E.E. and have clear objectives action plans that fully involve the potential contribution of students, alumni, businesses and the local community. Support the development of E.E. with leadership roles including the appointment of a coordinator for E.E.  EU wide initiatives should further E.E. developments in schools whilst school to school level co-operation should be facilitated.

Bibliographic Information

ECORYS UK Limited. (2011). Entrepreneurship Education: Enabling Teachers as a Critical Success Factor: A report on Teacher Education and Training to prepare teachers for the challenge of entrepreneurship education. Brussels: European Commission- DG Enterprise and Industry. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/promoting-entrepreneurship/f...