For hundreds of years, we, educators, have been preparing our students for jobs, for life, for the future. Now, in the 21st Century, the era of uncertainties and challenges, with the pace of ever advancing technologies, as well as the opportunities and threats of artificial intelligence, there is much question about how (and what) we should teach our students so they can be well prepared for the future. If we cannot predict the future, how can we feasibly prepare others for it?
One response to this educational challenge that has been gaining traction globally, is entrepreneurship. Both at policy level and within the educators community, it is believed that integrating entrepreneurship education into the university curriculum will equip students with the necessary skills and mindset to create and act upon opportunities, despite the uncertainty that surrounds them. Entrepreneurial behaviour in general is also seen as a powerful approach to tackle the societal challenges of today and tomorrow. Through education that instils this entrepreneurial mindset, we can create more change makers who desire to create social change for the greater good through acquiring and mobilising knowledge, people, and other resources.
Over the past two decades, numerous entrepreneurial education courses in various formats have popped up at higher education institutions worldwide. However, these interventions have mostly been confined to Business Schools or business-related curricula. This serves only a small percentage of the students within our education institutions. If we aim to transform the entirety of the future workforce and raise more change makers, it is vital that other disciplines also utilise entrepreneurial education practices.
As an educator with non-business background, you could be forgiven for thinking: “But my discipline is completely irrelevant to business formation, it is neither my duty nor knowledge!” But entrepreneurial education is not (only) about business creation; it is rather an educational approach to skills and mindset development to encourage students to think in a whole new way. It is for equipping these students with entrepreneurial competencies, such as action taking, resource development and acquisition, the creation, and development of ideas and opportunities, team work and leadership. All together these represent the skills and competences needed to remain future proof in an uncertain world, and to become transformative leaders against all these societal challenges. The importance of entrepreneurial education has recently gained recognition in non-business disciplines (Besterfield-Sacre et al., 2016). It has been applied to engineering, medical school, sports, and even journalism departments in various ways.
The methods and mechanisms to transfer and adopt entrepreneurial education across disciplines are about the pedagogies to be used for developing skills, knowledge, and attitude for an entrepreneurial mindset, and/or the integration of these pedagogies in different formats at varying levels; from learning activities to ad-hoc events, course development to structured programmes and curriculums.
The next article in this series will explore some of the pedagogies that can be used to implement this entrepreneurial education across disciplines.
Authored by Elif Çelik (TU Delft)