Leading Australian educators call for entrepreneurial education in every school

Leading Australian educators call for entrepreneurial education in every school

More than 60 Australian educators are urging all schools nationwide to adopt entrepreneurial learning, as part of a new report published today by Young Change Agents (YCA), an Australian education not-for-profit.

The “Let’s cocreate this” report gathers insight from attendees at a recent E3 entrepreneurial education conference. It offers a roadmap for introducing the kind of entrepreneurial ‘future of work’ skills that are taught in many of the world’s top education systems – such as Denmark, Finland, and Wales. It also outlines how entrepreneurial learning can improve student and teacher outcomes nationwide, and deliver “exponential good for Australia”.

Currently taught by one in 10 Australian schools, entrepreneurial education is a growing grassroots movement in Australia among educators. The goal of entrepreneurial learning is to provide students with the skills and mindset to identify problems and design solutions. It is not necessarily about encouraging students to become entrepreneurs, but rather to embrace the practical skills and apply them to their school, their community, and society at large. These courses help students improve their critical thinking, budgeting, and communication skills among others. They also encourage students to tackle the issues that matter to them, such as climate change.

Key findings in the report include: 

  • Young people are struggling with pressure and uncertainty, equipping them with the skills they need for tomorrow has never been more important
  • The student voice and student-centred learning is increasingly important, as it delivers better academic results for schools and better personal outcomes for students
  • Educators need more support at an individual, school, state, and national level to embed entrepreneurial learning into their lessons, and doing so will allow students to thrive
  • Entrepreneurial learning should not be limited to senior students, but extended to younger students as well.

“I believe entrepreneurial approaches to education are what's needed in this complex and changing world,” said Tom Griffith, a contributor to the report and assistant principal of entrepreneurial education at Seaton High School. “We're really passionate about developing an entrepreneurial mindset, which is a lens with which we can view the world. It can be very empowering and allow students and teachers alike to create meaningful impact and change in our community and beyond.

The YCA is backed by the likes of Apple, Atlassian, Telstra and the Queensland Government, and has set a target to work with 1.5million Australian students by 2024.

"Purpose-driven entrepreneurial education creates exponential good,” said Margaret O’Brien, YCA CEO.

“It empowers young people to build the skills they need for the future of work, whilst reframing problems as opportunities. It’s good for them, for the schools, and for our communities.

Today, 1 in 10 schools utilise our programs, but we want to speed up the inclusion of entrepreneurship education across all Australian schools. We want to reach 1.5 million students in the next 12 months and are advocating for a progression of entrepreneurial skills across Year 5-12.

“Educators are excited by entrepreneurial education, and this is a positive trend in a climate of increasing teacher shortages. Teachers see that entrepreneurial learning works for their students and this kind of engagement reminds them why they became educators in the first place.”

The above article originally appeared as a media release from Young Change Agents (YCA).