This study focuses on exploring the elements needed for entrepreneurship education in the future for generating economic, social and environmental sustainability for the community and for developing future leaders through understanding the existing entrepreneurship related policies, programmes, modules and the perception of teenagers of entrepreneurship skills to realise the importance of a mindset of entrepreneurship and the ways of integrating multidisciplinary knowledge for developing entrepreneurship spirit to meet the challenges of the future.
This topic has not been comprehensively explored in the past. After conducting quantitative analysis on 95 undergraduate students of a postsecondary institution in Hong Kong on entrepreneurship skills, the regression results presented in this paper found “entrepreneurship skills include implementation skill” can explain about 33percent of the change in the dependent variable of “sustainable skill sets include building a positive mindset”.
And, the mean scores of “entrepreneurship skills include creativity and risk-taking are the same as 4.02 out of a 5-point scale while “dislike handling paperwork with details”, “dislike facing people I don’t know” and “dislike being challenges” received the lowest scores of 2.6, 2.7 and 2.7 respectively. With regard to the qualitative analysis of existing entrepreneurship related programmes, it is found that business, management, finance and contemporary issues are the common elements in existing programmes of which the skills of creativity, risk-taking, socialization, handling details and challenges are lacking.
When analysing the meeting notes of UNESCO, APEID in February, 2015 of nine countries (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, China Hong Kong, Japan, and Republic of Korea), there is a trend on the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation mindset with three common concerns, that is, a lack of competent teachers teaching entrepreneurship programmes, a lack of industry exposure and a lack of government support. This paper highlights the key elements of future entrepreneurship related programmes for sustainability.
Both educators and policy makers not only need to respond to the ecosystem of entrepreneurship education, but also need to co-produce relevant and meaningful entrepreneurship related modules and programmes which focus on soft skills development for building a positive mindset for handling challenges of the future
Entrepreneurship education has been a hot issue in past few years in all parts of the world. United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO), (Asia-Pacific Educational Innovations for Development (APEID) has been organizing a number of conferences and meetings to increase the awareness of re-visiting existing programmes and policies in relation to quality entrepreneurship education since 2011. Based on information released from UNESCO, APEID of an Economist Intelligence report (2014) that 81 percent of entrepreneurs interviewed mentioned that they had acquired more entrepreneurial skills through work experience rather than through education.
The report also concluded that successful entrepreneurs could make use of education, but traditional teaching methods risk undermining attitudes conducive to entrepreneurship. It is time to re-think and re-visit the elements to be put in place in entrepreneurship related programmes for helping teenagers who intend to start up their business or who believe entrepreneurship skills can be applied into the workplace to avoid the pitfalls. Besides entrepreneurship education, academics and industry practitioners should understand the growing importance of sustainable development (SD) in higher education to generate economic, social and environmental impacts for community.
Educators and industry practitioners who are involved in academic and adult training programme design need to demonstrate the rationale of programme design and make the it meaningful to the target learners and the community. Understanding the global and local environment and documents related to entrepreneurship education and sustainable development are needed for programme design, implementation, monitoring and review process. Example documents are: 1) UNESCO documents on entrepreneurship education (EE) and sustainable development (SD) in higher education, 2) Government Policy Address of 2015, 3) manpower projection reports of Hong Kong government, and 4) Education Bureau (EDB) requirements on Qualification Framework (QF) levels about the programme learning outcomes, This is to correspond to the recommendations of Economist Intelligence Unit (2014) that policy choices and the cultural environment were needed to help aspiring entrepreneurs understand how they could avoid some of the many pitfalls of starting a business. Moreover, on-going study on teenagers’ knowledge, attitude, skills, value, their perception and their understanding of entrepreneurship and sustainable development are needed so as to increase the competency of learners who intend to run their businesses. In fact, entrepreneurship education not only prepares learners to run businesses, but also helps learners understand that there is a need to apply the spirit of entrepreneurship into the workplace for business success.
Objectives and Contributions In recent years, entrepreneurship funding has been provided by the government. Many entrepreneurship and innovation related competitions have been held by different sectors, including the banking and finance industry; and a number of short term programmes with site visits have been organized by universities.
There is a growing interest of teenagers and graduates from post-secondary institutions in becoming entrepreneurs; and the 70s / 80s have returned to the workforce as business or social entrepreneurs. However, entrepreneurship programmes in undergraduate level are lacking to help teenagers to develop a mindset of entrepreneurship for the workplace.
This has created a dramatic need of educators who not only have industry but also possess solid entrepreneurship experience with a mindset of innovations and risk-taking to bring in positive economic returns, to help the community to expand socially via caring the needy and to implement environmental related measures into the business for sustainability. This triggers the author to re-visit the existing curriculum related to entrepreneurship education to develop the soft skills of entrepreneurship and investigate the true meaning of entrepreneurship education in relation to sustainability.
In fact, the skills of 4Cs (critical thinking skill for solving problems, communication skill for understanding and communicating ideas, collaborating skill for working with others, and creating skill for producing high quality work) mentioned by Kivunja (2015) are needed for entrepreneurship education for sustainable development in the future.
The purpose of this paper is to explore relevant government policy, including the policy address 2014, the manpower projection report 2018 of Hong Kong; and study the existing curriculum of three major entrepreneurship-related undergraduate programmes in Hong Kong to identify the major elements to fulfill the gaps between academics and industries in terms of developing talents in entrepreneurship education with relevant knowledge, skills, attitude and value for the future no matter they are future business / social entrepreneurs or they apply entrepreneurship spirit in the workplace for career success. It is expected that multi-disciplinary knowledge and skills through coproduction are needed in entrepreneurship related programmes.