Article 1. Entrepreneurship education in Finland

  1. OVERVIEW

The Finnish Development plan for education and research 2011 – 2016, adopted by the Ministry of Education and Culture, emphasises that entrepreneurship education should be developed at all levels of school education, and help improve relations between schools and employers. Entrepreneurial skills and competences are explicitly recognised as a cross-curricular theme and embedded in the “Participatory citizenship and entrepreneurship” education theme at primary and lower secondary level and in the “Active citizenship and entrepreneurship” theme at upper secondary level. The learning outcomes include the ability to act with a sense of enterprise and initiative, to achieve a goal, to be able to assess one’s own actions and their impact, in addition to be proactive and able to create one’s own operating methods. Like many other countries, schools in Finland are autonomous institutions and implement entrepreneurship education in various ways. This includes, embedding the skills in other subjects as well as creating special separate courses. The Ministry of Education has published a set of comprehensive guidelines to help support embedding entrepreneurial skills across the curricula. These guidelines present useful information on the education ecosystem, the various stakeholders involved, information on existing initiatives and examples of the forms of cooperation between schools in practice.

  1. GOOD PRACTICE CASE STUDIES

Junior Achievement Job Shadow

  • SUMMARY OF THE INITIATIVE

The Junior Achievement (JA) Job Shadow in Finland programme, “Leader for a day!” offers students a unique opportunity to follow a company leader for a day. Through this experience, students gain insight into the working life of a business, leadership, initiative taking and decision making. The companies, which take on the students, also benefit from understanding how young people approach working life. The programme provides experimental learning outside the classroom as well as integrates the school in the local business environment.

  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INITIATIVE

With a network of 39 countries reaching 3.2 million students in 2013, Junior Achievement is the largest provider of entrepreneurship education programmes in Europe. JA brings together education and business communities as partners to address youth unemployment. It puts significant effort into supporting teacher training programmes, in particular, to give young people more in-school opportunities to learn in a real-world context. The Job Shadow programme is one part of this and has the objective “to improve students’ work readiness and thus take precautionary measures against unemployment”.

The JA Job Shadow programme consists of three 45-minute classroom sessions and a job shadow visit, which usually lasts four to five hours. The programme sessions are:

  • Before the Job Hunt: Students are introduced to the JA Job Shadow programme. The work through a seven step programme to learn the skills needed to get a job
  • Perfect Match: During the second session, students put their skills into practice and participate in mock interviews and prepare for their site visit with the business
  • Next steps: Students reflect on what they learnt before and during the site visit evaluating their priorities and preparing a thank-you letter to the company. They also have other activities to undertake which might include preparing an elevator pitch, a resume, or an infographic profile
  • TARGET GROUP(S) ADDRESSED

JA Job Shadow, “Leader for a day!” is aimed at students in VET schools, secondary schools and higher education institutions. The programme enhances students’ learning of a broad range of concepts and skills, including:

  • Concepts such as career assessment and job outlook, career planning, elevator pitch, infographic profile, job hunting and interview, networking, professional and ethical behaviours, resume, thank you notes
  • Skills such as data analysis, business communication, creativity and innovation, following written instructions, identifying behaviours, interviewing, oral and written communication, information organisation and presentation, role-play, self-assessment, and working collaboratively
  • ORGANISATIONS INVOLVED

The programme is implemented though collaboration with a network of companies. The programme connects the students with a company they have chosen, based on their desire to get to know more about a particular industry sector. The implementing body is Junior Achievement Finland, and they receive most of their funding from foundations, companies and the European Social Fund, coordinated by the Finnish National Board of Education.

  • ACHIEVEMENTS, RESULTS

 JA Finland’s goal is to advance entrepreneurial attitudes and an active lifestyle among Finnish young people by increasing their knowledge of entrepreneurship, providing entrepreneurial experiences, enhancing readiness for working life and financial management skills. The combination of targeted classroom settings and job shadowing is an important approach for young people who are about to enter the labour market. The programme increases the entrepreneurial mindset of the learners significantly. From the group of former participants in the programme offered by JA Finland between 2000 and 2013 (now 18 to 30 year old), 67% of the respondents indicated the programme made them consider setting up a company. 11% of the respondents had already set up a company, due to the influence of the programme.

  1. EXAMPLES OF ON-GOING INITIATIVES ADDRESSING ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION
    • UNIVERSITY OF JYVÄSKYLÄ TEACHER TRAINING SCHOOL

The Teacher Training School is part of the University of Jyväskylä’s Faculty of Education. The school’s main aim is to provide training for teachers of primary and secondary schools. It provides both subject-specific teaching courses and special education teaching courses. The school participates in a number of projects, entrepreneurship education being one of them. Teachers participating in this training can develop their teaching skills and logical and critical thinking, using concrete experiences. In the autumn of 2014, the Teacher Training School had 1010 participants, 705 of whom attended basic education courses and 305 general upper secondary education courses.

  • TEACHER-ENTREPRENEUR SPEED DATES

 Teacher-Entrepreneur Speed Dates is an event organised by YES-Satakunta, a branch of the Finnish YES network to support entrepreneurship. The aim of this initiative is to introduce teachers and entrepreneurs to each other and increase their mutual understanding. Started in 2010, teachers from primary and secondary education, as well as entrepreneurs from the region, join the event and exchange valuable examples and advice with each other in an informal and friendly environment. As suggested by the name of the event, it consists of very short exchanges, the speed dates last only four minutes. The event helps make the first step for teachers and entrepreneurs to get to know each other. Annually around 70 teachers and entrepreneurs take part.

  • REGIONAL YES CENTRE

 The Pori Regional YES Centre is part of a national YES network aiming to promote entrepreneurship education in schools. It provides practical entrepreneurship education services for teachers from primary to upper secondary level. Courses for teachers are based on involvement of pupils and new forms of teaching. Courses are delivered at teachers’ home schools. Annually, more than 300 teachers participate in these activities in the Pori region

  • MEASUREMENT TOOL FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION (MTEE)

The Measurement Tool for Entrepreneurship Education is an online tool that contains approximately 140 questions constructed around concepts drawn from a theoretical framework. The tool is used by teachers in Finland as a self-evaluation system. The Measurement Tool for Entrepreneurship Education was developed in multiple stages between 2008 and 2012 by the Lappeenranta University of Technology and the Development Centre Opinkirjo, a third sector organisation active in teaching and education. Additionally, a group of basic and secondary-level teachers were recruited for the project, and were involved in its development. The initial project was completed in autumn 2012, but it continues to evolve through its inclusion in other national and international projects. The Measurement Tool was shaped by participatory action research and a case study. The collaboration and shared expertise of the users (teachers) and the designers (researchers) were central to this project. At the end of 2011, the Measurement Tool for Entrepreneurship Education was launched nationally for Finnish basic and upper-secondary school teachers. The tool gives detailed, personalised feedback to teachers concerning their current entrepreneurship education practices, and it gives ideas on how to develop as an entrepreneurship educator. It covers seven areas from the design of entrepreneurship education activities, pedagogical solutions and networks through to the implementation of singe education activities and complete courses.

  • LAATURI (FINLAND)

LAATURI is an assessment tool for students, aged 12-16 years, which was developed by the Oulu University Teacher Training School in Finland. The assessment is used individually by students with the goal to encourage pupils to work independently and in the spirit of entrepreneurship. The assessment also encourages teamwork and promotes collaboration. There is also the opportunity for teachers to become involved in the assessment, alongside their students. Questionnaires for students and teachers are freely available in the Finnish language. Bringing together the assessment of students and teachers provides feedback on the quality of teaching and how the actions of individual students affect the learning of other students and of the whole group.

  • THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SCHOOL PROJECT (TES)

 The Entrepreneurial School project (www.theentrepreneurialschool.eu) and its Virtual Guide for Entrepreneurial Learning (www.tesguide.eu) is supported by a consortium of 15 partners and funded by the EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation Programme. TES hosts a community of practice for teachers from 18 countries, which is expected to grow to approximately 4,000 teachers in the next couple of years. School managers and teachers can access self-assessment tools (i.e., Measurement Tool for Entrepreneurship Education and National Standard for Enterprise Education), and search a database of more 100 tools and methods on how to organise entrepreneurship education. Teachers report that using the search facility of TES allows them to easily find what they are looking for in terms of syllabi, teaching material and contacts to peers. Also, the international dimension of TES is highly valued. Many schools today have a “global agenda” and are thus looking for platforms, such as TES, to find twinning partners for teacher and student exchanges. TES also offers teachers the opportunity to share their own materials with other practitioners across Europe. Mapping the development and take-up of this aspect of the project gives a good indicator of the potential for offering teachers this sort of “swap-shop”.

Resource: http://www.schooleducationgateway.eu/downloads/entrepreneurship/Finland_151022.pdf