By Iolanda Giovidelli
School Headmaster, I.I.S. LICEALE “Quinto Orazio Flacco” Portici (Napoli)
As headmaster of the Italian high school Q.O. Flacco, I do recognise the importance of incenting more entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviours among the students. We would not be playing our role as educators if we had created a school completely disconnected from the present dynamics of the job market which tends to change much faster than any syllabus or policy making in education. This is due to the historical context in which we live in where new social and economic patterns have been forcefully created by the global competition. It’s a cultural matter that should be widely and structurally dealt with starting from the re-thinking of an Education pattern, more pervasively focused on the acquisition of soft skills, a flexible modus operandi and an entrepreneurial mindset. Of course we claim the centrality of knowledge and the epistemic cores of the various disciplines. We cannot let the primacy of Knowledge in Education fall apart or be weakened in any way. Indeed, we believe that knowledge is the greatest competitive advantage for a sustainable growth and we advocate the highest levels of accomplishments at the higher education level.
I think that this is one of the critical points of the whole debate about EE: a major risk of misunderstanding, as far as entrepreneurial literacy is concerned, resides in a widespread perception of EE as a surrogate of a wider and more traditional concept of transmission of knowledge and also culturesthe National Education systems for which they are in charge of.
The only way to overcome the problem is to promote the EE as a complementary thus necessary form of literacy as well as the digital or civic literacies; all assimilated with the disciplines by the means of a student-centered and projectwork-based teaching approach.
Whatever professional careers our students will pursue, the entire school community is compelled to train them for to have successful careerswhich will allow them not to be merely doctors, lawyers or even entrepreuneurs but rather to become skillful and expert professionals. This challenging mission implies that we need to equip them with transferable competences such as problem-solving skills, team-working abilities, communicative and organisational skills, as well as eliciting their creative and innovative attitudes.
Far from being an “automatic switch,” the embedding of entrepreunerial education into the school curricola requires time, work and resources. Moreover, it encompasses different social stakeholders and their ability to network.
For this purpose, our school have been working on having the Entrepreunership Education programmes intergrated into its curricula for the past four years. We have signed protocol agreements and partnerships with different local stakeholders in education such as: Universities, Junior Achievement Italy, private companies and associations of businesses and professionals. Furthermore, we have designed, implemented and disseminated the School format as like a three-year based Enterprise Programme which has already involved lots of students. As a result of such a commitment, significant goals have been accomplished: our students won the regional competitions within the JA Italy programme of mini-company creation, in 2015 and 2016 and last April, one of our school enterprises was awarded the prestigious italian Prize “Italiadecide” by the Minister of Education in the presence of the Italian Head of State, the Ministers of Economic Development, Public Administration and other important institutional representatives.
We are continuing on this path and we never stop projecting, networking and involving as many social players as possible to help achieve the common goal of effective job matching, job creation and self-employment attitudes.
We know that only a few of these opportunities are available within the confines of a classroom alone but through inventive projects, the seed of entrepreneurial behavior can be sown.