Entrepreneurship_education_and_training - South African Journal of Education Copyright 2007 EASA Vol 27:613629 Entrepreneurship education and training

Entrepreneurship_education_and_training - South African...

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South African Journal of Education Copyright © 2007 EASA Vol 27:613–629 Entrepreneurship education and training at the Further Education and Training (FET) level in South Africa Eslyn Isaacs, Kobus Visser, Christian Friedrich and Pradeep Brijlal [email protected] We assessed the levels of entrepreneurship education and training at the Fur- ther Education and Training (FET) level in a South African context. We are of the opinion that entrepreneurship education and training (of necessity) must fulfill a primary role in preparing our youth for their future. Evidence from elsewhere, in particular industrialised countries, indicates that entrepreneurship education and training at school level play important roles in the contribution to economic growth. Experts in the field of entrepreneurship believe that the contribution of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the growth of our country can be much higher if entrepreneurship education is implemented at school levels. Entrepreneurship is now one of the outcomes of Grades R – 12. However, our research clearly showed that various problems in schools hinder the effective implementation of entrepreneurship education, some of which are poorly trained educators and lack of adequate resources. Better entrepreneurship education could make a significant contribution to job creation and ultimately to poverty alleviation. Keywords: education; entrepreneurship; high schools; training Background to the study The key to the success of establishing a culture of entrepreneurship in South Africa is education, which depends on all the stakeholders, including state, educators, and learners themselves. Apart from the educational impact of the home, the school can be regarded as the place where the most (holistic) profound impact can be brought about in the development of the youth. One of South Africa’s greatest limitations to economic development can be ascribed to its lack of entrepreneurs. The ratio of entrepreneurs to workers in South Africa is approximately 1 to 52, while the ratio in most developed countries is approximately 1 to 10 (Friedrich & Visser, 2005; Acs, Arenius, Hay & Minniti, 2004; Gouws, 2002). Furthermore, Shay and Wood (2004) present disturbing findings with their research, which shows that young South Africans believe significantly less in themselves as business starters, compared with similar developing countries such as Argentina, India, Brazil, and Mexico. Economic growth in industrialised as well as developing countries re- mains a central issue and, as such, particular interest is focused on the role of entrepreneurship to achieve and maintain open and modern economies (Wennekers & Thurik 1999; Garavan & O’Cinneide 1994). Yet, recent refe- rences to the low incidence of entrepreneurship in South Africa raise the question whether this low prevalence is not perhaps symptomatic of our education system? Lewis (2002) argues the opposite when he reports that “70% of high school students are interested in starting their own business,
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