Our Perspective


How to stimulate entrepreneurship within the school education system in Sri Lanka?

“Entrepreneurship is the way we take control of our lives in a tough economy.”
~Lori Greiner~
 

It is a well-known fact that Sri Lanka’s foreign income account has remained in the deficit status for a long period. This issue has persisted with Sri Lanka for several decades and the governments that have come into power from time to time have not been able to provide a sustainable solution for this issue. Certain highly rated economists in Sri Lanka have constantly said that Sri Lanka should encourage foreign investments yet a greater focus should be rendered on homegrown entrepreneurship. Governments have proceeded in rendering foreign investments however the foreign income account remains at deficit as there is a lack of encouragement to starting & developing homegrown enterprises

Sri Lanka is widely regarded as a country that does not have an effective practice of entrepreneurship mainly due to the lethargic mentality Sri Lankans have towards entrepreneurship. Further rarely is one interested in developing his or her own business to support Sri Lanka’s economic and financial stability and this could be due to a myriad of reasons. Hence, it is imperative that this attitudinal change should be stimulated from the grass root level.

 

Inculcate the concept of entrepreneurship within students

Inculcating the concept of entrepreneurship is something to do with the attitudes of students and it is teachers who should play a vital role in instilling this mind set in young kids. During pre-school &1st grade Students are required to give a speech about themselves. During that speech, most students say that they aspire to become Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers etc.  What if teachers can train students to say that they would like to become an Entrepreneur? I believe it will change the attitudes of most of the students to think in a different dimension from the start. They will be inquisitive to know what an entrepreneur does if their Teacher could impress them thusly, I am positive that most students would take home the aspiration of becoming an entrepreneur one day.

Teach entrepreneurship as a subject.

The ongoing curriculum in Sri Lanka’s national school system offers the subject of Entrepreneurial studies as a bucket subject from Grade 10 for the students who are preparing for the G.C.E O/L examination. Students are exposed to the subject only for 2 years where they study the theoretical aspects of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial studies should be made a compulsory subject from Grade 1. Thus, it must be simplified in such a way that students of respective age groups could understand the basic concepts of the subject.

 

More emphasis on the practicality

There is no doubt learning theory is imperative to grab the basics of any subject. But, it is the practice of the subject which cements the theory learned. This norm bears no difference when it comes to learning entrepreneurship which is considered as a subject with a deep and an exciting practical aspect. Students have no exposure to the practical aspects of the subject. Therefore, whatever knowledge they gain is limited within the time/resources provided for the subject as students emphasizes on gaining a good grade rather than incorporating entrepreneurship as practical skill for the future. It is high time schools use their facilities to cater to teach said practical aspects.

 

Allocating a separate time in teaching skills of hand

A good education system consists of 3 main aspects. They are namely,

1) Development of Knowledge
2) Development of attitudes
3) Development of skills of hand

Unfortunately, the Sri Lankan education system focuses more on knowledge development. Whilst both attitude development & development of skills of hand have been taken lightly or neglected. There are two reasons for this. First reason being that students are not interested in learning subjects such as entrepreneurship since more emphasis is given to core subjects. The second being that, there is lack of time for students to learn such skills within the actual time spent at school. Therefore, it’s the right time that the educationists consider extending the time that a student spends in the school. The six hours they spend in school ought to be extended at least by another two hours and students should be persuaded to learn subjects such as Carpentry, Electronics, Motor mechanics and other vocational subjects. This would enable students to have different capabilities and become well rounded personalities once they enter the world of work

 

Its high time educationists of Sri Lanka should come up with sound plans in restructuring the education system by injecting the concept of entrepreneurship in to it. If they do so and execute those plans in the right manner, certain pressing issues in Sri Lanka such as unemployment will deteriorate specially youth unemployment where well over 30% of Sri Lanka’s youth are unemployed. The revenue obtained by exporting will automatically increase and the foreign account of Sri Lanka will move away from its deficit status and that single handedly will enable Sri Lanka to gain a lot of financial and economic benefits. At last having a sound economy means that government has enough time and funds to focus on other social issues and minimizing those issues. Therefore, it is crystal clear that developing the concept of entrepreneurship finds solutions not only to the directly related economic issues but also other issues of the society which are linked from distance.

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