Entrepreneurship education encompasses all education measures that contribute to the development of entrepreneurial attitudes and skills. The development of certain values and approaches is just as much a part of this as personal qualifications that are central to independent work and can lead to the creation of a business. With a ‘National action plan for entrepreneurship education’ published at the end of 2020, the government aims to push ahead with the development of entrepreneurship at all levels of education in Austria, especially in vocational education and training (VET).
The challenges of the future bring a high degree of uncertainty: pandemics, climate change, digitalisation, political and social problems, war-related mobility, etc. These uncertainties need to be countered with creative ideas for sustainable and future-oriented further development. With this in mind, it is necessary to examine more closely the political, social and economic significance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at a societal level. At an individual level we need to promote the continuous development of specialised knowledge and interdisciplinary competences, strengthen autonomous and independent action and enable people to deal with uncertainties and solve problems in a structured manner.
National action plan
Against this background, the ‘National action plan for entrepreneurship education’ was presented in November 2020; its core element is the ‘Map of actions for children and young adults’ in the field of entrepreneurship education. This action plan is the result of cooperation between numerous ministries, led by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Economy, and around 65 stakeholders, who compiled a comprehensive map of measures to achieve this vision.
The map includes (planned) measures to expand the structure of entrepreneurship education, strengthen an entrepreneurship education ecosystem, and provide an overview of (planned) activities at different school levels. Making the activities visible and coordinated (bundling of activities, initiatives and projects) is expected to increase their impact.
Goals and fields of action
The action plan for entrepreneurship education defines and describes the goals to be achieved (Figure 1). The implementation period will last until 2025.
To achieve these goals, six fields of action were identified in a position paper:
- incorporating entrepreneurial competences at all levels of education and training;
- at least 100 hours of entrepreneurship education for all pupils, students and trainees;
- strengthening entrepreneurship education in the initial training of teachers and trainers, as well as in in-service and continuing vocational education and training;
- support for business start-ups as a learning environment both in the dual system and in full-time schools;
- expansion of partnerships between education establishments and businesses;
- joint initiation of at least 10 relevant projects in the period up to 2025 by the ministries involved or implementation of at least 10 relevant measures.
Measures being implemented
Measures already being implemented under the action plan in the field of VET include:
- establishment of smart practice enterprises in VET schools;
- development of VET schools with a special focus on entrepreneurship education (entrepreneurship school);
- piloting of Schülergenossenschaften (cooperative model businesses set up by pupils);
- ideas and business plan competition;
- entrepreneurship as a separate competition at EuroSkills.
In addition, the Ministry of Education is currently preparing a fundamental decree on entrepreneurship education.
- BMBWF and BMDW (2020). Entrepreneurship education – Map of actions for children and young adults
- Information of the Ministry of Education (BMBWF)