News:Argos:Good headway being made on entrepreneurship key competence

English's Primacy

The ETF has just completed an interim assessment of the EU’s pre-accession countries’ performance on the human resource dimensions of the European Charter for Small Enterprise. Five countries in particular stand out for their efforts in promoting entrepreneurship as a key competence.

Firstly, Montenegro has elaborated a national entrepreneurial learning strategy which is expected to go for Government approval in late spring 2008. The strategy covers all parts of the education system and is intended to provide a comprehensive framework for lifelong entrepreneurial learning with a particular emphasis given to key competence development. While the strategy awaits adoption, however, the education authorities have already moved on introducing the key competence within some 38% of secondary schools where teachers have been trained and new pedagogic-didactic materials introduced. Lola Radulović of the SME authority underlines the wider value of the entrepreneurship key competence, ‘employers need enterprising workers, people who can spot opportunities and who are not frightened of taking an initiative’, she says.

Serbia is also forging ahead with key competence development but specifically in vocational training areas i.e. agriculture, mechanical engineering and health care with additional occupational areas to be included in 2008 (e.g. electrical engineering, tourism). These developments follow the adoption of the national vocational training strategy adopted in late 2006 and demonstrate a commitment by the Belgrade authorities to see through the reforms outlined in the strategy. ‘Getting entrepreneurship into the curriculum has generated significant interest from the teaching profession’, says Igor Brkanovic, Serbia’s Charter Coordinator, ‘so much so that teachers not directly engaged in the training programmes have been expressing interest in joining the seminars. This is a very positive signal’, says Mr. Brkanović.

For its part, Kosovo has elaborated an entrepreneurial learning strategy which covers all parts of the education system, where the entrepreneurship key competence is a primary pillar to envisaged reforms. Kosovo has additionally defined a series of standards for entrepreneurial learning to ensure appropriateness of the teaching and learning processes. ‘This is the most comprehensive entrepreneurial learning strategy we have seen’, says Anthony Gribben of the ETF. ‘It is an excellent policy reference point. Kosovo’s next challenge will be to put the strategy into practice,‘ he continues.

Meanwhile, two neighbouring countries have taken important steps to address the key competence policy concerns. Croatia is revisiting its national curriculum strategy with a view to incorporating the key competence provisions within pre-school, primary and secondary education. ‘Our education process is continuously evolving’, explains Dijana Vican, Secretary of State for Pre-School and Primary Education. ‘No child should be excluded from the opportunity of entrepreneurial learning’, says Dr. Vican. And fYR of Macedonia has signalled intentions to move forward strategically on key competence developments with a specific request for support from the European Union through its IPA Programme. This will build upon harder entrepreneurship knowledge and skills promotion which is now mandatory for all secondary level schooling.

Reflecting on the key competence developments, Anthony Gribben points to good policy motivation by the countries to accommodate the education guidelines within the SME Policy Index. ‘We’re hoping that the initiatives of the front-runners on key competence will be a spur for other partners in the region to seize the opportunity of on-going education reforms to knit in the EU’s key competence recommendations,’ he says. But he warns, ‘the litmus test for the education policy guidelines within the SME Policy Index is that national strategies are brought to an implementation phase. This requires a sustained political commitment backed up with the resources to see through the reforms’.

The ETF works with the European Commission (Directorate General for Enterprise & Industry), OECD and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is supporting the EU pre-accession region in meeting the policy requirements of the European Charter for Small Enterprise.




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