Entreprenariat Educatif Européen

Youth entrepreneurship as a result of entrepreneurship education in the EU countries

Why do we need to promote entrepreneurship education?

Why is it so urgent in France?

We all want to have young people at the age of 18, interested in science and technology, in economy, having developed skills enabling them to understand "the new world of work" and to speak several languages!
Contrary to the famous African proverb «it takes a village to raise a child" or the European Commission‘s advice in 2007: “Do not confine your children to your own way of learning for they were born in another time.", French people do not consider entrepreneurship education as part of the initial training of young people! Companies are not taking part in the initial or continuous training of teachers, students, school heads.
When French people decide to benchmark, we often hear about the German dual system, that is to say, alternating school / business. For my part, I organized a seminar for fifty French school heads in Berlin in 1994, - when I was leading the “French School” there. Twenty years later, the “dual system” as you see is still not inspiring for French Ministers of Education.
  1. Benchmarking does not mean “copy a model”
  2. We have to go back to the situation of the old regime to understand the current blockages in my country

So, how can we - in the EU - help?

In my opinion,

  1. Help people to analyze their own situation critically.
  2. Help them to answer the next question: “What do we want to change?”

First step: analyze the French situation critically:

1. The students:

Who makes a work experience? students with learning difficulties in childhood, who will try to discover the interest of a job at the age of 14 and those - few in number - who have access to the best schools of higher education including periods of in-company training, and often experience abroad. Between these two extremes, the students identified (when they are 15 years old) as having some difficulties with general education and possibly some interest in science and technology will also spend a few weeks of internship before obtaining professional or technical degree.

The vast majority of students in general education has to be satisfied to participate in forums, to have some interventions of entrepreneurs in the class room, to make visits in companies, ... in the best case participating in starting mini-enterprises (JA-YE) . But just a few will have the opportunity to take part!

2. Teacher training

No business experience is required, not even for teachers of economics and social sciences – a specific French discipline, created in 1967, combining political science, sociology and macro-economy, but which does not include, in its fair value, business economics.

3. The training of school heads and other managers

I had the good luck to be recruited in 1988, and received training for six months before becoming principal. This included an internship of six weeks, spread over six months - I've done it at Hewlett-Packard. The objective was to analyze the transferability of professional practices from the company to the school, in terms of recruitment, career management, training, communication, customer service… Thereafter, future school leaders only had two weeks of internship, little emphasized in their training.

Second step: consider the common goals with the European countries:

If we want to remember the European objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy "for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth», we have to follow the roadmap and to:
  • Fight against early school leaving: we, in France, have 13% of young people concerned, or 150,000 per year, leaving the education system without qualifications: A PRIORITY!
  • “Make entrepreneurs" : I invite you to visit: http://www.alerteducation.eu/files/oslo_report_final_2006.pdf the report of the Oslo Conference in 2006 which allowed to know all the initiatives put in place by European countries to bring business to school and engage students in their future.
  • “Make scientists”: take into account the recommendations of the ERT – European Roundtable of Industrialists -: such as Volvo, Volkswagen, within CSR-activities, as part of a European project led by the IBM Foundation, project called "Science in Schools». I have been participating in the steering group which has disseminated many initiatives implemented in 11 European countries (France not included). One example : http://www.alerteducation.eu/en/content/when-business-world -and-education-decide-Collaborate
  • Make the access of 50% to the master degree : In France, we have now 27%
  • Make Life Long Learning available for everybody

Fact: Our youth is poorly prepared to economics and social issues: the lack of transfer from the business to the school in terms of leadership hurts the interests of students. If I refer personally to my internship at Hewlett Packard in 1988 and to the 15 years working with my colleagues –school leaders round the world - I have to admit that the impact of leadership on the internal organization of the school and student performance is very strong.

Administrative management, as we know it in France, does not permit either a real management of human resources or a strategic vision or the assessment of results.

The hierarchical organization does not enable:

  • Primary and secondary schools leaders to be real “leaders” (if we accept the definition of a leader as the one, who is “doing the right things”, while the manager “does things right” and the administrator “does things”)
  • Parents to know about the added value of every school, to evaluate the performance of their child's school. In other countries, for example in the Netherlands, the two associations of principals work closely with the Secretary of State for Education. The evaluation of schools is controlled jointly, allowing each parent to have access to the information he/she needs.
  • Students to be prepared to the "new world of work", where the fracture work / leisure has changed profoundly, where the skills expected in the twenty-first century are personal initiative, commitment, ability to carry out a project on its own. One example: In 2011, I have been with my colleagues - school leaders round the world (Council members of the ICP) - in Amsterdam, at the European headquarters of Microsoft, where we spent a good part of the day. While Microsoft has 900 employees, the building constructed can only hold 450 people: one can be surprised but when you know that every employee has an obligation to be present once a month, you understand better. Discussions with staff have allowed us to discover a design work which has nothing in common with that of our schools still operating frontal, leading to passivity of the student.

A formula to remember: "Making work having a conversation…I come to the office to meet customers, colleagues, inspiration. To work, it is better at home. "

The "flipping classrooms" developing now in our European countries got inspiration of such a model: the students' work is ahead, then in the classroom "we communicate! »

France should consider the company as "a developer of talent”, take into account the European recommendations and some successful and inspiring practices in Europe, mostly introduced by a public-private partnership -- Foundation - initiating change at school:

  • “MODUS 21” school experimentation led both by the Bavarian Ministry, companies and organizations in partnership and shared responsibility : http://bildungspakt-bayern.de/
  • Developing science in schools with the help of private companies (Jet Net Foundation in the Netherlands) and science centers. The Jet Net Foundation, founded by Philips, which brings together a large number of companies in collaboration with primary and secondary schools : http://www.jet-net.nl/
  • “Science in Schools" led by the IBM Foundation, supported by the Commission and European Schoolnet, To my knowledge, in France, only one experimentation Mobi 3, during one year, - introduced in 2007/08 by IBM, Dassault, Nokia, SFR -.
  • In Germany, the editor Universum offers teachers of economics but also teachers of other disciplines within the framework of the Jugend und Bildung Foundation training contents in finance and social sciences from both companies and government: On the website “Lehrer on line” teachers find online courses, projects, educational materials for teaching economics and finance, but also on all social issues: http://www.jugend-und-bildung.de http://www.lehrer-online.de/
  • The "Entrepreneur’s Skills Certificate” proposed by the Austrian Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Vienna, WKÖ in Austria, recognized by the European Commission as a key device for developing all "entrepreneurial" skills but also "intrapreneurship", that is to say not only essential to the creative future business but also one that will work in a company where you will also need the same skills: organization, animation, decision making, teamwork, self-confidence, ...
  • Developing financial literacy through private-public partnerships, training teachers and students : http://childfinanceinternational.org/

Last but not least it is also one of the best ways, "learning by doing", to improve foreign language skills, because the online collaboration allows to develop autonomy, curiosity, and use the internet on a daily basis for training purposes.

Conclusion: it is urgent to develop cross collaborative activities between business and education world: companies should be allowed to provide training content; they also need to be more involved in the assessment of skills when training periods are set up. Then we can hope that students will learn to work by themselves, that teachers and school leaders no longer write on school bulletins, comments that could be duplicated ad infinitum: "lack of personal work", "lack of concentration in class" "too much chatter" ... And also hope that local authorities will build school buildings adapted to new forms of work of the twenty-first century, requiring large open spaces used at certain times of the day to offer the possibility, in the same place to organize very diverse activities : here, a group of students being involved in a scientific experiment or in a repetition of a play in a foreign language, there another group preparing team work, requiring many documentary resources, again isolated students, responding to a questionnaire on their Tablet PCs, other individually focused on an exercise in memory, then finally a teacher, acting as a coach, checking thoroughly the knowledge, skills and attitudes of a student during at least 20 minutes. "The master effect" is, as we know, the most important one but, as convinced Europeans, we all know: This requires to reform the training of teachers and school leaders to transform our schools into "learning communities” - through the acquisition of professional skills and the willingness to train throughout the whole lifetime.

Steps to implement the idea:

  1. First list the best practices in Europe
  2. Then disseminate them through conferences, workshops, where practice replaces theory, where every country can learn from the best!
  3. Finally try to integrate entrepreneurship education in School Curricula all around Europe
May 12th 2013


Dans son livre : "Virage européen ou mirage républicain? Quel avenir voulons-nous?", Nelly Guet démontre la sclérose du système éducatif français et fait des propositions européennes.