By Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport
Today, the question is not whether entrepreneurship skills can be taught or should be a fully-fledged part of education. The question is how best to spread entrepreneurship education and improve it, so that as many young Europeans as possible can benefit from it and gain better aptitudes as well as attitudes.
This is why I have made entrepreneurship education the central priority of my work to ensure that young people acquire better skills and Member States successfully modernise their education systems. Students who do an entrepreneurship course, and especially those who experience hands-on practical activities, gain skills that help them innovate, communicate, think critically and, most importantly, navigate their professional and social lives.
It is important to stress that entrepreneurship education is not only about promoting start-ups, it is about creative thinking, risk taking and turning ideas into action. An entrepreneurial mindset needs to be cultivated from a young age. Yet, only 34% of young Europeans have participated in an entrepreneurship class. At the same time, those who take part tend to achieve highly positive results: they are less likely to drop out of school or become unemployed and are more likely to start a business.
So what are we waiting for? The European Commission has been supporting teaching entrepreneurship and will keep doing so. For example, the Erasmus+ programme funds highly innovative projects on mini-companies in several Member States. My goal is to build on this and boost entrepreneurship education for all young Europeans.
The success of JA alumni is only one example showing why entrepreneurship must be promoted as a core educational element. If every young pupil has at least one practical entrepreneurial experience before leaving school, future generations will be better decision makers, problem solvers and well prepared to enter the job market. And be more confident, independent citizens. Thus, we need to maximise entrepreneurship education at all levels, especially in schools and VET institutions, to make sure that no pupil is excluded from entrepreneurial learning.
JA is one of the leading organisations in this field and thanks to its tireless efforts and unmatched expertise, it has considerably improved entrepreneurship education in Europe, helping many Europeans to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and skills. I encourage you to keep up your efforts to reach an even greater number of young participants in the future, setting up innovative projects and continuing to expand the network of JA alumni. We count on you, more than ever, to keep on spreading entrepreneurial mentality and skills in the EU.