Entrepreneurial Thinking In Education
Significance of entrepreneurial thinking in the 21st century education can hardly be exaggerated. With the rapid change in the workplace requirements in the modern technology-based fast-paced world, nature of jobs and the skills needed to excel in any type of work are frequently changing. In addition, unprecedented socio-economic and cultural problems are growing globally. New ways of thinking, becoming proactive and innovative are required to cope up with such circumstance. A suitable education system has the vital role to promote these values.
Entrepreneurial education calls for thinking out of the box in responding to the everyday socio-economic and cultural challenges of life. Ranging from developing an individual’s own social or commercial ventures to initiating reforms at jobs come under its ambit. Qualities like perseverance, resilience, self-efficacy and passion among others are the cornerstone of this type of education. Contrary to the conventional education that limits an individual’s ability to think, act and analyse differently, it equips an individual with the multiple skills, unique knowledge and appropriate attitude to emerge as a self-reliant and a responsible citizen in the society.
Global and regional context
Discourses on promoting entrepreneurship through quality education are gradually increasing across the globe against the backdrop of the utter failure of the traditional education system to cater career aspirations of the young graduates and arouse profound interest in studies. Particularly, Nordic countries like Norway, Denmark and Finland have led the innovative education model and proved their vitality in producing dynamic graduates that best fit for the multiple socio-economic and cultural expectations of the society. Focusing on supporting educational institutions, teacher education and training including collaboration with private businesses and organisations, this model has become popular one in redefining the education.
Still, gaps exist even in the most advanced education system of world like the British and the American education to foster entrepreneurial thinking embracing the principles of community based enterprises. In fact, leading philosophers like Noam Chomsky have been highly critical of the neo-liberal education system of the West that overlooks indigenous knowledge system and adopts a lop-sided approach towards building enterprises negating the value of social inclusion and justice.
Of late, entrepreneurial thinking has also begun in developing countries, but it has remained inadequate and unsustainable in the absence of a systemic reform. Whether we cite an example of ‘Pratham’ in India which provides literacy and educational support programme to around 33 million children or ‘Escuela Nueva’, the Colombian programme of mono and multigrade teaching, reforms are emerging in the global South. Having said that, majority of the countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America continues to practice the age old education system that promotes bookish knowledge rather than entrepreneurial thinking due to the fragile domestic politics and deteriorating economic condition.
With the general inclination of the society towards dependency and risk averse practices, the notion of entrepreneurial thinking is hugely missing in Nepalese context. Practice of entrepreneurial education is almost non-existent although a handful of innovative academic institutions have embarked in the journey of transformative teaching. In fact, the realisation of the growing significance of such an educational model is low in academic policy circle. The general focus of the curriculum still remains content mastery. To facilitate this objective, the one way mode of lecture delivery is heavily practiced. In such scenario, there is seemingly a low expectation of our graduates often wanting to see them limited to a normal job. Fostering the thinking of risk taking to achieve unprecedented things in life among students is not prioritised.
The burgeoning problem of educated unemployment in Nepal clearly points out the pitfall of the present education system. According to a recent study by the International Labour Organisation on Nepali youth aged 15-29, unemployment rate among university graduates is three times higher than those with ‘no education’. While it can be argued that the political instability and transition have adversely affected the job prospects of graduates, the scenario would have been completely different had our academia injected the spirit of entrepreneurship instead of blaming the system.
It is high time the education system was revamped towards promoting local enterprise and authentic leadership to ensure the better life prospects of graduates at home. Instead of repeatedly teaching the same curriculum for years, it has become urgent to incorporate new dynamics of society and culture in such course contents with a focus on building an individual’s entrepreneurial skill and ability to undertake innovative tasks. Nurturing the values of innovation, competitiveness, unorthodox thinking has become crucial in alleviating the problem of educated unemployment in Nepal. Getting out of the ‘job seeking’ mentality assumes greater significance. Starting personal simple initiatives should be contemplated for improved quality of life in the long run. Promoting a culture of self-reliance is also the collective responsibility of the society and nation as a whole.