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Why in-school entrepreneurship education

– what is it?

Introduction: The context of this contribution is from the work of EWET (Education With Enterprise Trust)
which piloted the Youth Enterprise Society (YES) clubs at schools from 1994 until 1996 when the
dissemination of YES went national with the YES Simama Ranta (strengthening the South African economy
through youth entrepreneurship) competition as well as in-classroom syllabi materials were added through
constant innovation. These three components which consist of the YES clubs, YES Simama Ranta and in-
classroom syllabi materials represent the three pillars of EWET’s approach to in-school entrepreneurship

Aim: The aim of this contribution is to give perspective on in-school entrepreneurship within the South
African context. Should we pursue the implementation of in-school entrepreneurship education given the
complex debates around primary and secondary education? What is it? Will the basic education system
cope with the addition of entrepreneurship education given existing workloads? Will entrepreneurship
education add sufficient value to our basic education system to make it worth the effort? Do we have
sufficient research and intellectual capital in the field of in-school entrepreneurship education for its
implementation to be based upon proven theory? Will the basic education system resist the
implementation of in-school entrepreneurship education because of the changes that it will require
together with the additional workload? The writer wants to stimulate discussions around these questions
while an attempt is being made to give perspective on in-schools entrepreneurship to inform such

Background and some history: Statistics South Africa released a report in 2017 that found 56% of the
unemployment rate of 27%, are young people between the ages 15 and 24 years old. The Global
Entrepreneurship Development Index (GEDI) within their report “The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem of South
Africa: A Strategy For Global Leadership 2017” within their research and findings based upon 14 different
ecosystem components quotes from the National Development Plan 2030 that “The quality of school
education for most black learners is poor.” GEDI continues to state: “Appropriately, government action in
the education sector is focused first on reducing inequality in education. In addition to inequality, the
structure of the education system doesn’t allow for creativity and innovation, which impacts the level of
innovative entrepreneurship activity which is needed for growth.”

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The development of entrepreneurship is being pursued because of the proven ability of entrepreneurs to
stimulate economic growth and to create jobs. The dramatic changes in employment conditions caused by
the fourth industrial revolution further strengthened to appeal for in-school entrepreneurship education as
the knowledge, skills and attitude gained from such education perceived as core requirements for this
world of work. More and more researchers are giving attention to the effective delivery of
entrepreneurship education at tertiary level while progress is also being made within primary and
secondary education. It is now opportune for South Africa to move towards the full implementation of in-
school entrepreneurship with EWET’s three pillar model that shows to be responsive to the findings of the
latest research.

With sincere appreciation to a broad range of scholars whose work influences EWET’s responses below
such as Dr. Cathy Ashmore (Ohio State University – US), Prof. Allan Gibb (Durham University – UK), Prof.
Jack van der Linde (Free State University), Dr. Martin Lackéus (Chalmers University of Technology –
Sweden), Prof. Sarah Robinson (Aarhus University – Denmark), Prof. Norris Krueger (University of Phoenix –
US), Prof. Jeffry Timmons (Babson – US) and lately Prof. Zoltan Asc (London School of Economics – UK) on
entrepreneurial ecosystems, as some of the core people from whom we learned (or are learning) a lot.

The term: Let me start-off first to put everybody at ease about the term “in-school?” In-school refers to
children or learners who are participating within primary and secondary education or what we call basic
education. The term therefore gives focused efforts upon 6 years old until 18 year olds in schools together
with their teachers, the Department of Basic Education (DBE), parents, business people and all other
stakeholders who engage themselves within the school’s education of our children. The schools, learners,
teachers, School Management Teams, School Governing Bodies, DBE district and provincial and national
officers represent core partners to EWET with whom the organisation is working extremely well since 1994.

What does in-school Entrepreneurship Education abbreviated as “EE,” do? EE develops and cultivates
knowledge, skills and attitudes amongst learners to be applied within the creation of value for others.

Knowledge: Martin Lackéus within his 2013 thesis unpacks knowledge as: mental models (how to get
things done without resources, risk and probability models); declarative knowledge (basics of accounting,
finance, technology, marketing, risk) and; self-insight (knowledge of personal fit with entrepreneurship

The knowledge speaks to the application to EE of learning which evolves from the curriculum of all of the
subjects done in the classroom. Writers therefore speak of the “infusion” of EE into schools where all of the
subjects inclusive of languages, sciences, technology, engineering, maths, etc. are being applied within EE in
a cross-curriculum manner. EWET deliver Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) aligned syllabi
materials to teachers for utilisation in the classroom to build the bridge between the teacher’s subject
matter and EE.

Skills: Lackéus defines skills as: marketing skills (conducting market research, assessing the marketplace,
marketing products and services, persuasion, getting people excited about your ideas, dealing with
customers, communicating a vision), opportunity skills (recognizing and acting on business opportunities,
product development), resource skills (creating a business plan, including a financial plan, obtaining
financing), interpersonal skills (leadership, motivating others, managing people, listening, resolving
conflict), learning skills (active learning, adapting to new situations, coping with uncertainty) and strategic
skills (setting priorities and focussing on goals, defining a vision, developing a strategy, identifying strategic
partners, risk management) .

EWET’s Youth Enterprise Society (YES) clubs operates as an extra-mural activity which clubs serve as
entrepreneurial laboratories for the learners where they execute activities and projects to gain competence
within the following 17 areas: 1.Life skills; 2.Understanding the market economy; 3.Business ideas;
4.Evaluate the community; 5.Setting goals; 6.Market research; 7.Plan the business; 8.Plan business finance;
9.Plan human resources; 10.Business promotion; 11.Selling the product; 12.Business accounts; 13.Business
records; 14.Leading and managing; 15.Business communications; 16.Entrepreneurship as a career and;
17.Our business.

Attitudes: Lackéus defines attitudes as: entrepreneurial passion (“I want,” need for achievement), self-
efficacy (“I can”), entrepreneurial identity (I am / I value.” Deep beliefs, role identity, values, axiology), pro-
activeness (“I do.” Action-oriented, initiator, pro-active), uncertainty / ambiguity tolerance (“I dare.”
Comfortable with ambiguity, adaptable, open to surprises), innovativeness (“I create.” Novel thoughts
and/or actions, unpredictable, radical change, innovative, visionary, creative, rule breaker) and
perseverance (“I overcome.”)

EWET’s Youth Enterprise Society (YES) clubs are also clubs in the real sense of the word: Each YES (Youth
Enterprise Society) club initiated within a school involves 60 members: 15 Grade 8 members – called YES
Adventurers; 15 grade 9 members - called YES Pioneers; 15 grade 10 members - called YES Champions and
15 grade 11 members - called YES Entrepreneurs. Young people who graduated from YES are called YES
Alumni. Each society of 60 members and 4 Advisors (volunteer teachers) meets once a week under the
youth elected leadership, to take care of business that affects their society through adherence to
parliamentary procedures.

Who delivers in-school EE?: The information above speaks to the inter-disciplinary nature required to
succeed with the effective delivery of in-school EE. The faculties of education at universities represents the
place where future and current teachers could be trained towards the delivery of in-school EE but, it is not
happening yet. Tertiary institutions have got entrepreneurship build into MBAs and commerce related
faculties which cater for tertiary students together with some initiatives to look at Entrepreneurship
Education at tertiary level – to be initiated.

The training of teachers within in-school EE is currently being done by None Government Organisations
(NGOs) such as EWET. Teacher training within this field is extremely important in order to attain scale as
well as to achieve some level of sustainability. The vast majority of EWET’s impact amongst learners is
being attained through volunteer teachers while DBE integrated its involvement within other
responsibilities. EWET has got respect and appreciation for what the DBE contributed towards in-school EE
delivery since 1994. This impact would not have been attained without DBE’s co-ownership.

What EWET is pursuing is the formalisation of the training of EE Teachers in collaboration with the South
African Council of Educators (SACE). But EWET needs financial support to enable this training. A brief
description of what is to be pursued: “Pilot professional development of 40 selected Entrepreneurship
Educators in collaboration with SACE and Aarhus University’s Prof. Sarah Robinson on “In-school
Entrepreneurial mindset – a pedagogy for educators in school” (21st century teaching) to be further
developed, packaged, transfer to South African service provider to be made available to all South African
teachers with career interest in in-school entrepreneurial education applicable to all subjects with a fit into
the related Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS).”

Concluding remarks: Some attempt had been made within this conversation piece to demystify the topic of
in-school EE and to present some basic concepts for discussion purposes. This is a conversation piece which
will only be useful if the conversation gets going within an open and transparent manner.

For EWET to serve as an agency within the field of in-school entrepreneurship education is a calling and a
privilege. The impact of this work is tremendously satisfying both on a professional and personal level. We
are excited that South Africa’s community of practice in the art of the delivery of in-school
entrepreneurship education is ever expanding while we are filled with gratitude for the privilege to be part
of this community.