Chapter News, News

Entrepreneurship Education on the Increase

Brussels, 13 April 2012
Entrepreneurship education is being increasingly promoted in most European countries, according to a new report published by the European Commission. Eight countries (Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Wales and the Flemish part of Belgium) have launched specific strategies to promote entrepreneurship education, while 13 others (Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey) include it as part of their national lifelong learning, youth or growth strategies. Half of European countries are engaged in a process of educational reforms which include the strengthening of entrepreneurship education. A total of 31 European countries and 5 regions were surveyed for the report, entitled “Entrepreneurship Education at School in Europe”.

Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: “Entrepreneurship education is a driver for future growth and will help us to inspire the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. If Europe wants to stay competitive, it must invest in its people, in their skills, in their ability to adapt and in their ability to innovate. This means that we need to encourage a real change of mind-set in Europe towards entrepreneurial attitudes and this starts by instilling a spirit of entrepreneurship from early education onwards.”

The report shows that entrepreneurship education is explicitly recognised in the primary education curricula of two-thirds of the countries surveyed. While entrepreneurship is not taught as a separate subject in primary schools, half of the countries have defined learning outcomes which relate to entrepreneurial attitudes and skills such as sense of initiative, risk-taking and creativity.

In secondary education, half of the countries integrate entrepreneurship into compulsory subjects such as economics and social sciences. Two countries (Lithuania, Romania) teach entrepreneurship as a compulsory separate subject. Practical entrepreneurial skills are specified by four countries (Lithuania, Romania, Liechtenstein and Norway).

The report shows that a dozen countries support initiatives related to entrepreneurship education such as enhancing closer cooperation between education and business, and setting up small-scale firms run by students. However, specific teacher training in this area is available only in the Flemish Community of Belgium, Bulgaria and the Netherlands. Only one third of European countries provide central guidelines and teaching materials for entrepreneurship education.

The full report can be viewed here.