From time to time the sentiment that entrepreneurship has to be part of the school curriculum in South Africa has been largely echoed and emphasised by many people, including policy makers and other educational institute.
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), the South African report 2016/17, education is inextricably linked to entrepreneurial intentions and growth as it influences entrepreneurs’ confidence in whether they have the skills and knowledge to start a business.
Previous GEM South African reports have suggested that there is some association between educational levels and success in entrepreneurial ventures, and South Africa’s poor skills level is certainly an important contributing factor to the country’s below-average entrepreneurial capacity. (GEM South Africa 2016/17)
The Global Competitive Report by the World Economic Forum also adds that South Africa’s education system lags behind.
The table below shows the global competitive report rankings of certain conditions in South Africa around quality primary education.
The GEM South Africa report also adds that the problem in South Africa is not isolated to the quality of entrepreneurship education and training but also has a broader problem of primary and secondary education in its entirety and a further problem is that the system encourages higher education as the sole pathway to professional achievement and success, and this creates the implication that vocational expertise is distinctly inferior to academic knowledge.
With this, learners from primary and secondary schools are not being prepared for entrepreneurial activities, and historically, higher education has been the only way considered to achieve such advancements especially on a professional level. However, because the world is rapidly changing, a new and flexible way towards professional advancements has to be considered. A way that will consider learners from primary and secondary schools as the driving force towards entrepreneurial advancement and economic development.
This kind of approach will give individuals the opportunity to think critically, solve problems, and take advantage of new technologies.
Mduduzi Mbiza is a writer, content strategist, researcher, consultant and author of the book, ‘Human Education: The Voyage of Discovery’. He has contributed his articles on education to Daily Maverick, The South African, Voice360 and EduOne.