Inculcating Entrepreneurial Skills In Students

"Schools have always transformed lives and go a long way in making students able and independent. We all fondly remember those teachers that identified talent in us growing up and that helped us realise our true potential"

In the last few years, the world has seen a lot of disruption, be it with the pandemic or the spread of new technologies and from this entrepreneurship has emerged as an appealing choice for many. However, here’s the catch in this age of opportunity, unless you’re equipped with the right skill set, entrepreneurship can prove to be a bumpy road. That is why it is necessary to inculcate entrepreneurship skills in people as early as possible, even as early as school. 

Schools have always transformed lives and go a long way in making students able and independent. We all fondly remember those teachers that identified talent in us growing up and that helped us realise our true potential.  Even though traditionally in India most families favoured the path to being professionals be it in the fields of engineering, medicine, finance, or law, things are starting to change and not all children are opting to follow those streams; some instead want to follow the footsteps of Steve Jobs,  Elon Musk, Sunil Bharti Mittal and Ritesh Agarwal, and other business tycoons who have carved a niche for themselves in this world and have amassed an abundant fortune with their shrewd business acumen.

When we look at the lives of these revolutionary entrepreneurs, we notice that they did not emerge as successful entrepreneurs out-of-the-blue; the entrepreneurial traits were visible in them right from their school days. Even at a school or college level, they were finding innovative solutions to the problems that a majority of people faced. Hence, I do believe that schools should focus on identifying these traits in their students and helping the students evolve into full-fledged entrepreneurs. Let’s take a look at some of the steps that the schools can take to create a more entrepreneurship-friendly environment. 

Developing and encouraging the entrepreneurial drive

Schools should make it a priority to produce innovative entrepreneurs who can take the country’s economy to new heights. Delhi government’s initiative to introduce an entrepreneurial curriculum in schools on a fourfold framework – ‘inspire, educate, involve and facilitate,’ is quite commendable and will play a major role in realizing this dream. If certain students show an inclination to pursue the path to entrepreneurship, then schools should offer them opportunities where they can nurture and grow to their full potential.

The Ministry of Education, in the year 1978, introduced a new subject, Socially Useful Productive Work (SUPW). The purpose of introducing this subject was to help children develop necessary non-academic skills, which would aid them later in life and help them understand the importance of collaboration and community building. Painting, Origami, Cooking, and Gardening are just a few of the many different activities that are conducted as a part of the SUPW curriculum. This subject can further be enhanced to include more entrepreneurial skills among the students.

Project-based learning

One thing that every entrepreneur need, despite the domain he/she is working in, is the ability to think out-of-the-box. While some people are naturally gifted with creativity, it certainly is a skill that can be enhanced with practice. The New Education Policy 2020 will also help a lot in this regard. The policy emphasizes the importance of project-based learning and offers alternatives to rote learning – which to be frank, is only good for scoring marks in an examination.

With the implementation of this policy, Indian schools will assign project work to students and they will have to come up with creative ideas while executing them. It will also pave the way for multidimensional learning as opposed to linear learning. Skills like creative thinking, ideation, goal-setting, planning, time management, teamwork, and collaboration are crucial to entrepreneurship; coincidentally, these are also the skills that one can develop doing project work.

Conducting guest lectures

Children love to have role models and they need them too. When they see someone, who has followed the path that they are thinking of following and has gained success while doing so, they too get inspired to pursue their dreams. Not to mention that face-to-face interaction with an industry expert will open new doors to learning. The students will be able to better understand the challenges that the market poses in front of fresh entrepreneurs; they will also get an idea of what approaches only work in theory and what approaches are practical when it comes to solving those challenges. Besides guest lectures, the schools should also conduct industrial visits to give students an idea of what a business environment looks like and how different moving parts come together to form a well-oiled machine.

Most importantly though, the schools should focus on creating a fun and interactive learning environment that promotes inquisitiveness and creativity in a child’s mind. The Indian education system can sometimes be too rigid and unyielding and this causes students to lose interest in their passions. A nurturing, positive environment is what young entrepreneurs need to grow into forward-thinking business leaders.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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