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Entrepreneurship Education Is Key To The Success Of MENA Economies

by Ronaldo Derric
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I’m reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

For the past ten years, I have conducted entrepreneurship education workshops for young students in the MENA region. Implementing this type of program for primary and secondary school students presented considerable challenges. Yet governments, schools, and parents have begun to recognize and understand the value of instilling entrepreneurship and skills in young people, regardless of the career paths they ultimately pursue. After overcoming the inherent societal stigma against entrepreneurship and working with over 25,000 students on their entrepreneurial experience, this experience will help guide the education system to meet the needs of the economy of the future. I would like to share the valuable insights of There are three:

1. Arab youth are hungry for practical and immediate application of education
According to the latest ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey, nearly 85% of Arab youth are concerned about the quality of education in their country (83% in the GCC, 84% in North Africa and 81% in the Levant).

A solid educational infrastructure is a critical investment, and many governments in the region recognize that it is the foundation of a competitive and productive workforce and a talented entrepreneurial class in a strong economy. doing. However, with rapidly changing technology, a landscape of innovation that outstrips the speed of learning, and the presence of students directly involved in these changes, what students want to learn is not always taught in school. is not limited. Learning about the technology and world unfolding before their eyes (artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, data, 3D printing, renewable energy, etc.) and learning how to pioneer these areas through entrepreneurship The students we are educating today. The students I was privileged to teach entrepreneurship and life skills had these technologies in their sights and were eager to learn more about them. However, this does not mean that the core curriculum in schools should be replaced. Instead, that curriculum should be expanded and built to include innovation skills. Education systems need to embrace new technologies to inspire young minds on how to further drive these innovations. An innovative platform that instills an entrepreneurial spirit in our education system by adding classes that take what young people have learned in math, physics, or the arts and apply it to the real-world scenarios they are currently experiencing. In addition, education becomes proactive and graduates individuals who can cope with changes in the world around them. This is a key characteristic of successful entrepreneurs.

Related: 3 reasons why you should teach entrepreneurship to young people

2. Arab youth are not seeing local opportunities, through no fault of their own
Young people are most looking forward to completing their education, but migration remains a top priority for nearly half of them, according to the latest ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey. After pursuing his passion, starting a family and moving to a new country, entrepreneurship has become his sixth.

Suppose countries want to prevent the brain drain that still plagues the region and revitalize the number of new startups. In that case, the education system and business infrastructure must be mature, attractive and in sync to ensure a steady supply of talented young people who can join the workforce as entrepreneurs and achieve sufficient success in creating jobs. Must have. Hire young people. Countries across the region are overhauling their infrastructure to make it more entrepreneurial-focused using economic incentives, programs, funds, accelerators and incubators. But there is a missing link in this chain, and that is when students are completing their education and entering the economy. Many of our students never thought about starting a business until they completed the course. Entrepreneurship paths are not yet institutionalized or part of the local culture.

It is growing as more successful role models and examples emerge, but there is not a critical mass to create future sustainable and innovative economic momentum. , based on quality, business and economic indicators) does not list countries in the MENA region. Institutionalizing entrepreneurship education is one way to bridge this gap and change the culture of our region. Showing young people that entrepreneurship is a viable option will lead to a healthier economy with more enterprising young people. Even if you don’t want to go down the startup path, young people at least have the vital life-her skills that make them an effective workforce member, regardless of the path they choose. This is a win-win scenario that school systems need to adopt as soon as possible.

3. Young people are looking for creative space beyond the arts and humanities
A focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) doesn’t mean leaving creativity behind or relegated to arts and literature classes. On the contrary, for a successful STEM program, incorporating critical thinking and creativity into these areas is an important part of making the education system successful and empowering.

Creativity is one of the biggest takeaways from students in the entrepreneurship courses we have conducted over the years. My students repeatedly cite creativity and critical thinking as one of the most important skills they gained from the program. There is a compelling desire for young people to be creative and solve complex problems. They feel empowered because they are not just repeating information, but using their abilities to overcome problems.

At its core, entrepreneurship education is life skills education, focusing on what matters most: creativity, critical thinking, and curiosity. These traits can be applied in many areas and can add depth to a young person’s education. These skills focus on teaching students how to think, not what to think. This is what the economy of the future needs. In a world where automation and artificial intelligence replace or radically change certain jobs, these entrepreneurial skills are invaluable. These skills also motivate young entrepreneurs to develop new applications for these technologies, which can have an impact on local and international economies.

Our youth are telling us what they need. We should listen as educators, legislators and ecosystem players. Today’s youth are more connected than ever before, and they are thrust into an ever-changing economy, and our education system must be proactively prepared.

Related: Starting Young: Cultivating a Culture of Entrepreneurship

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