Imagination, innovation, and entrepreneurship – a new formula for school curriculum

The employment crisis is a reality that haunts every government in the world, be it a superpower or a third world country. Including entrepreneurship as a significant part of the school curriculum seems to be the only lasting solution that can address this problem.

Private schools in Egypt are following a program which originated in Singapore called the “Journey of Entrepreneurship (JOE)” to equip their children with skills such as pitching, negotiation, risk-taking ability, and so on.

Under this program, students from the age of eight are exposed to the concept of entrepreneurship. They are given a blank journal to make a note of the problems they see around themselves. They are then called upon to use their imagination, encouraged to think of a practical approach, and finally deliver a solution that makes commercial sense.

Entrepreneurship and innovation economy

Schools and influencers around the globe are waking up to the need for including entrepreneurship in the academic curriculum of K12 education.

Australian investor and entrepreneur Steve Baxter calls for educational institutions to make innovation and entrepreneurial skills a mandatory part of school education

Fiftysix Creations” is a company that offers entrepreneurship programs to over a hundred schools in Australia. Their modus operandi is to make students first identify a community-wide problem. In the workshop, they discuss and come up with innovative technology-based solutions to the identified problem.

Asian schools are renowned for their strict curriculum, which focusses on building academic skills in STEM subjects. Slowly and steadily, schools are breaking out of this norm. 

A school in Malaysia is stepping out of its comfort zone to become the country’s first entrepreneurship school. Dwi Emas International School is laying more stress on cognitive flexibility and adaptability of students than just classroom training.

In the budget presentation done earlier this week, the Government of India has emphasized the importance of innovation based education, which creates more entrepreneurs in the country.

Challenges of including entrepreneurship in the curriculum

Nada Helmy is the managing partner of JOE Egypt. Helmy says the challenges of including entrepreneurship as a part of the curriculum are as follows:

  • Parents are unsure about the need to start teaching entrepreneurship in schools. 
  • Creating a network of teachers trained to execute this program
  • Schools are not sure if this should this be an after-school activity or part of regular classes?

A decade ago, Universities like Stanford were entrusted with the responsibility of education on the topics of innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Today, the world is waking up to the fact that conventional pedagogy may not be enough to solve the problems faced by society. The question that remains is how soon our educators will wake up to this reality.

European Commission’s strategic innovation agenda and similar efforts should give educators a good indication on the needs of the future.