Business and entrepreneurial subjects in school curricula

Business and entrepreneurial subjects in school curricula

Integrating entrepreneurship education into the education systems to cultivate mindset that values entrepreneurship as a career choice

Being an important parameter to measure the economy of the country, the high unemployment rate has continued to be a growing concern for policy makers and the government. To this end, the Entrepreneurship Promotion Division (EPD) under the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Employment (MoICE) is dedicated to fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

The division’s primary objective is to transform mindsets and attitudes, encourage self-employment through comprehensive entrepreneurship development training, arrange impactful events, and provide support for novel infrastructural ventures in partnership with relevant agencies.

Four primary results have been recognized in the pursuit of fostering a dynamic startup ecosystem that nurtures creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and facilitates profitable self-employment and economic growth, according to the Ministry.

These four outcomes encompass Startup Entrepreneurship Program, Startup Promotion and Events, Startup Acceleration Program and Startup Infrastructure Establishment.

Amongst the dynamic startup ecosystem, Entrepreneurship Promotion Funds for Schools is introduced in line with the 12th Five Year Plan (FYP) under the under the Startup or Cottage and Small Industry (CSI) Flagship Program 2018-2023.

The schools providing Business and Entrepreneurship subjects includes Orong Higher Secondary School (HSS), Phuentsholing HSS, Ura Central School, Chumey HSS, Dechentsemo HSS, Yangchen Gatsel HSS, Phuentsholing Rigsar HSS, Peljorling HSS, Lhamoizhingkha HSS, Thrimshing HSS, Pemagatshel Middle Secondary School (MSS), Jigme Sherubling Central School, Laya Central School, Phobjikha Central School, Gongthung MSS and Lingzhi Lower Secondary School.

According to the Ministry, the support includes financial and technical support, including teacher training and in the fiscal year (FY) 2022-2023, additional funding was allocated to establish entrepreneurship clubs in schools, aiming to infuse an entrepreneurial spirit and provide practical services to communities.

“The objectives encompass promoting entrepreneurial activities, nurturing a robust entrepreneurial culture, and creating a dynamic ecosystem within schools,” the Ministry stated.

“It is crucial to integrate entrepreneurship education into the education systems,” said an on official from the Ministry, adding that this shift is vital for cultivating a mindset that values entrepreneurship as a career choice and also empowers students to tackle socio-economic challenges.

With the unemployment rate being exacerbated yearly, the Ministry designs interventions concerning employment promotion and creation through providing job and talent matching services, assisting fresh job seekers to increase their employability through engagement programs, guidance and career employment counseling, leveraging on promoting entrepreneurship as an alternative measure of creating employment, amongst others.

In addition, as a part of Entrepreneurship Education Integration in the school education curriculum, the Ministry provided capacity development of teachers on the newly developed curriculum. The existing Commerce subject is enhanced with the incorporation of the latest business and entrepreneurship concepts and practices.

Last year, the Ministry provided eight days of orientation on the new textbook at Khasadrapchu MSS, Thimphu. “The aims and objectives of the orientation program were to understand the purpose of introducing the Business and Entrepreneurship curriculum,” the Ministry stated.

In addition, for the entrepreneurial studies, the Ministry gathers and discusses the importance of the curriculum framework, identifies different competencies of the subject, and uses them in the learning-teaching processes.

For instance, in the FY 2022-2023, Youth Engagement and Livelihood Program (YELP) have engaged around 2256 individuals, with the engagement rate higher for females (64.8%) compared to their male counterparts (35.1%).

The beneficiaries were engaged in various sectors such as accommodation with about 25.2%, manufacturing with 18.1%, trade with 11.1%, and public administration with 8.9%, according to the Ministry.

With such data and with considerations of the beneficiary’s profiles, the Ministry stated that it is evident that the majority were individuals with academic qualifications of class XII (39.2%), followed by class X (20.1%), and below class X (14.4%) respectively.

Meanwhile, during FY 2022-2023, the division implemented various programs, including an Entrepreneurship Development Program course, promotional and networking activities, and startup events, resulting in the creation of 37 startups and generating around 145 jobs, where the business and entrepreneurial studies plays a crucial role for the students in the country for their career adventures.

By Sherab Dorji, Thimphu