Entrepreneurial Learning: formal vs. in- and non-formal education and training

Professor Dr. Radmil Polenakovikj, Business Start-up Centre, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University

"Entrepreneurship and Innovation is for all" - This is my motto.

Entrepreneurs are made, not born. It is true that not everybody has the same entrepreneurial spirit, some people are more entrepreneurial than others.

However, entrepreneurial skills can be learned, nurtured and improved. This is the crucial principle that is accepted by the Macedonian government, mirrored in many activities, projects and strategic policy documents.

The central strategic document related to entrepreneurial learning (EL), which was adopted recently, is Entrepreneurial Learning Strategy of the Republic of Macedonia 2014-2020 (EL strategy is developed with support from The European Training Foundation, Turin) . The EL ecosystem foreseen in this strategy consists of 5 central pillars: primary, secondary, higher and non- and in-formal education, and young entrepreneurs. The EL strategy requires strengthening of the systematic approach in building entrepreneurial education institution through strengthening of the managerial systems and building strategic alliances in a formal and informal way with businesses and local community. This indicates that the government’s intentions are to foster both: formal and non-formal/in-formal ways of entrepreneurial education and training.

Informal education is a spontaneous process of learning through conversation, exploration and enlargement of the experience, while the formal and non-formal ways are planned, organized and structured educational processes. The non-formal entrepreneurial education has some advantages, such as: flexibility, project-oriented, more interestingly implemented, but on the other hand it is dependent on available funds.

Macedonia aims to promote entrepreneurial thinking massively. For that purpose, it uses formal education as a vehicle for teaching entrepreneurship in a more organized way and delivering it systematically to every young individual in the country. The transformation of formal education toward something more entrepreneurial and innovative started from secondary education, with the introduction of the subject Business and Entrepreneurship in the 4th year of secondary schools in 2007. Few years later, (2012), a new mandatory subject entitled Innovation and Entrepreneurship was introduced in 1st, 2nd and 3rd year of secondary schools.

Starting in 2013, primary education also experienced innovative transformation, by injecting the Innovation and Entrepreneurship topic in six regular subjects (mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, arts and informatics) for 9th graders. All these activities were supported with extensive teacher training courses.

The most recent (Feb 2015) actions for enhancing EL, were revisions undertaken by a mixed expert group of the school curricula in order to ensure an overall match between the entrepreneurial subjects taught in school and the real needs of students and labor market.

To redesign the curricula of the five entrepreneurial subjects, the expert group developed a methodology that could be summarized in the matrix presented in the Annex 1. Each of the subjects is divided in five themes, providing gradual expansion of students’ formal knowledge, but also facilitating the students to interact with their environment and community, learning practically through informal educational methods. The application of this methodology for revising the curricula for entrepreneurial education ensures a step-by-step evolving education experience for the Macedonian youth, blending together both formal and informal educational ways.

Now we are faced again with the same dilemma, which way is better: formal or non-/in-formal entrepreneurial education and training. We definitely need both to have a bigger impact – formal entrepreneurship education in primary and secondary schools, and different forms of non-formal/ in-formal types of entrepreneurship education (trainings, camps, summer schools, competitions, weekend trainings, evening classes, mentoring, tutoring, bootcamps, etc.)

We need all of these in order to change our youth mentality. So, please not use VS., or, OR, but AND – Formal AND Non-/In-formal entrepreneurial education and training for better future of our children.

Read more about the methodology matrix for EE in primary and secondary schools

Category : entrepreneurship education, education Posted : 15 September 2015 11:18 UTC
About the Author
Professor Dr. Radmil Polenakovikj, Business Start-up Centre, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University

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