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New winds in Entrepreneurship Education

Maja Jukić and Ines Elezović, National Centre for External Evaluation of Education in Croatia

In the last decade there is inclination within the Croatian society to promote entrepreneurship as social, economic and educational value. This acceptance of entrepreneurial values can be seen in national-level documents in both area of economy and education.

Most important ones for education are: "National Framework Curricula for Preschool, General Compulsory Elementary and Secondary Education", 2010 (hereinafter: NFC), "Strategy for Entrepreneurship Education 2010 – 2014" (hereinafter: SEE) and Strategy of Education, Science and Technology, 2014 (hereinafter: the Strategy). 

NFC was the first to provide formal framework to educational institutions on how to include Entrepreneurship Education as one of the inter-curricular themes in existing educational programs. Inter-curricular themes develop different general student competences which implementation is not in domain of one school subject but all educational areas and all subjects. In the description of Entrepreneurship as inter-curricular subject the main goal is stated as follows: development of entrepreneurial competence of students through development of personal traits, knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes necessary for acting as a successful entrepreneurial individual. Entrepreneurial competence involves development of students as entrepreneurial, creative and independent people ready to accept changes and undertake risks i.e. as individuals with developed social and communication skills and basic knowledge in the area of economy, crafts and business management. The Strategy that was in the foundations of the latest initiative for changes in general curricular  documents positioned Entrepreneurship as one of the inter-curricular themes as well as one of the underlining general principles for personal growth of citizens. At the same time it contributes to the achievement of socio-economic goals, such as creation of jobs in the labour market and boosting innovation in the economy. All this can be reached through targeted teaching methods and specific learning contents.   

There is growing need within the Croatian education system for analysis of progress and implementation of standards set by European Reference Framework and one of its eight key competences of lifelong learning - Sense of Initiative and Entrepreneurship. One of final goals of these endeavours is increase in social awareness of importance of Entrepreneurship Education as one of key competences not only within educational system but also as an incentive for continuous development of country's economy. On the other side, main problem for the stakeholders in Croatia (but also in many EU Member States) is lack of guidelines based on scientific research of particular systems (educational and labour) that can produce compatible and transferrable methodologies and coherent conclusions. 

What was done so far? 

In the school year 2011/2012, the Croatian National Centre for External Evaluation of Education undertook a research into the acquisition of entrepreneurial competences in secondary schools. The overall purpose was to support decision-making process based on evidence and directed towards implementing entrepreneurship as one of key competences in the Croatian national curriculum. The long term aim was to establish and continue conducting national surveys at all levels of pre-tertiary education in order to generate evidence on Entrepreneurship Education which can be of great use to policy and decision makers, school principals, teachers and students – but also to employers. 

The 2012 survey gathered comprehensive data and for the first time insight on the current state of knowledge and attitudes towards entrepreneurial contents among high-schools students and teachers was gained. The initial phase of the research included content analysis of existing curriculum and textbooks, as well as focus groups with students and teachers. The main study included: testing of students’ level of entrepreneurial knowledge and self-reported skills and students’, and teachers’ attitudes towards entrepreneurship. 

Findings and next steps 

One of the major study findings was that students at the end of secondary education have strong confidence in the educational system as the place where they can gain necessary entrepreneurial skills. This is a great opportunity for specific follow-up measures. Report available (in Croatian language only) at: http://dokumenti.ncvvo.hr/Kvaliteta_obrazovanja/Poduzetnici/zastupljenost_poduzetnickih_sadrzaja.pdf

The study, in line with similar research, confirmed the importance of a systematic inclusion of Entrepreneurship Education in the educational system to achieve the above mentioned objectives of personal development, job creation and boosting innovation . Strategy documents in Croatia already acknowledged and implemented the EU intention for systematic development of Entrepreneurship Education. To build on this more activities are needed to strengthen the implementation across schools and educational levels. 

We will follow up on this – drawing from the examples of good practice provided by the with the following actions to strengthen the educational system that use more active methods of teaching and learning. In particular, we will: 

  • Encourage regional and local authorities to play a greaterrole in promoting Entrepreneurship Education in the local community,
  • Enhance cooperation between different departments in the public administration and between public and private entities (NGO, companies, etc.), 
  • Increase support measures for schools and teachers trained in educational programmes that have both new contents and new forms (methods of teaching) in Entrepreneurship Education, 
  • Support learners to participate in Entrepreneurship Education as early as possible,
  • Promote Entrepreneurship Education in tertiary education that is not limited to economy studies, 
  • Collaborate with higher education institutions in the provision of training for teachers in order to increase the number of Entrepreneurship Education activities, and
  • Inform the general public to increase awareness of entrepreneurship. 


We will keep you informed on the progress of our work! 

Category : entrepreneurship education Posted : 13 November 2016 13:10 UTC
About the Author
Maja Jukić and Ines Elezović, National Centre for External Evaluation of Education in Croatia

Maja Jukić is the Director of the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education, Republic of Croatia. After 5 years in industry where she worked as system and process engineer, she was a teacher in VET school for 16 years, during which she integrated financial and entrepreneurial education in electro-technics. In 2012 she was STE on the “MOSES project”, promoting the development of entrepreneurial competencies of children and young people. In period 2010 – 2013 she worked on few a grants for VET schools as external expert. Since October 2013. She is a SEECEL key expert on development of teacher training for EL on establishing of the peer learning/peer review methodology and monitoring the progress in relation to implementation of Principles 1 and 8 of the Small Business Act for Europe. 

Ines Elezović was born in 1983 in Zagreb. In 2007 graduated sociology from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb and in 2008 graduated journalism from the Croatian Studies, University of Zagreb. In the same year enrolled in the doctoral program at Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in the area of sociology of education. Also, since 2008 employed in the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education in the Research-Development Department and afterwards in the Department for Quality Assurance. At present is ICCS 2016 National research coordinator and coordinator of the research activities for external evaluation of experimental programmes in VET secondary education.

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