Entrepreneurship Education

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2) Entrepreneurship Education at School in Europe: National Strategies, Curricula and Learning Outcomes

Authors: Education, Audio-visual and Culture Executive Agency

Date: 2012


This comparative overview analyses information available on primary and secondary education in the Eurydice Network, representing 31 European countries. It has four chapters covering:

1. National strategies and action plans to encourage the integration of entrepreneurship education.

2. How entrepreneurship education is currently being addressed in national educational steering documents in terms of general approaches and subject curricula.

3. Specific learning outcomes defined for entrepreneurship education and any practical guidelines to support teachers.

4. Initiatives to promote entrepreneurship education and the current situation on educational reforms impacting on the subject.

Key Findings:

According to the Key Competence Framework (E.U.,2006) the entrepreneurship key competence refers to an individual’s ability to turn ideas into action. It includes creativity, innovation and risk taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects in order to achieve objectives. Developing mind-sets, generic attributes and skills that are the foundations of entrepreneurship can be complemented by imparting more specific knowledge about business according to the level and type of education.

  • Attitudes

Category 1. Self-awareness and self-confidence are the entrepreneurial attitudes which constitute the basis for all other aspects of entrepreneurship. They entail discovering and trusting in one's own abilities which then allow individuals to turn their creative ideas into action. In many countries, these attitudes might be pursued as general education goals.

Category 2. Taking the initiative and risk taking, critical thinking, creativity and problem solving are also fundamental, but they are also specific attributes of an ‘enterprising self’.

  • Knowledge

Category 1. Knowledge of career opportunities and the world of work are learning outcomes that are not exclusively related to entrepreneurship, but usually form part of students’ general preparation for their future career choices. However, a sound knowledge of the nature of work and different types of work involve an understanding of what it is to be an entrepreneur. This knowledge also allows students to define and prepare their place in the world of work with a well-developed awareness of opportunities and constraints.

Category 2. Economic and financial literacy including knowledge of concepts and processes that can be applied to entrepreneurship.

Category 3. Knowledge of business organisation and processes is specific knowledge of the environment in which entrepreneurship is often applied.

  • Skills

Category 1. Communication, presentation and planning skills as well as team work are transversal skills essential to entrepreneurs.

Category 2. Practical exploration of entrepreneurial opportunities includes the various stages of the business set up process, including designing and implementing a business plan. p 19

Developed from Heinonen & Poikkijoki (2006). and incorporating issues from EC (2007) on the “Key competencies for lifelong learning – European Reference Framework” and NESTA (2009) ”The identification and measurement of innovative characteristics of young people.”

Focus of Study

This comparative overview was focused on Primary and Secondary Education for Entrepreneurship and analysed national strategies and policy documents, specified learning outcomes, initiatives and examples of current practice received from the Eurydice Network of 31 European countries

Authority and Credibility:

This research was undertaken by the Education, Audio-visual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the EU so has a great deal of authority within the EU and beyond. This is part of the Eurydice Network serves mainly those involved in educational policy-making at national, regional and local levels, as well as in the European Union institutions. It focuses primarily on the way education in Europe is structured and organised at all levels

Implications & Comments:

Entrepreneurial learning outcomes most often referred to in Primary education are those linked to attitudes, specifically entrepreneurial attitudes of ‘taking the initiative and risk taking, critical thinking, creativity and problem solving’. At this level of education, no country defines learning outcomes linked to practical entrepreneurial skills despite the widespread support for experiential learning.

In secondary schools, the most widely applied category of learning outcomes for entrepreneurship education is for  attitudes ‘taking the initiative and risk taking, critical thinking, creativity and problem solving’. The number of countries promoting learning outcomes linked to entrepreneurial knowledge increases with the level of education.

Common features amongst guidelines and teaching materials include building on active and participatory teaching methods with a practical, project-based approach, promoting practical experience through workshops, cooperation with different organisations and enterprises, including learning settings outside school, and centrally the hands-on approach of setting up and running student firms. These may involve a number of ministries as well as input from business and local and national organisations that promote business.

Bibliographic Information

Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency. (2012). Entrepreneurship Education at School in Europe: National Strategies, Curricula and Learning Outcomes. European Commission, Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency. Brussels: Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency. Retrieved from http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/thematic_reports/...