The View From Taft

I fully support the Department of Education’s advocacy to require senior high school (SHS) students from all strands take an Entrepreneurship subject. After all, one of the supposed benefits of the SHS program is preparing students for livelihood even before college. However, one of our considerations should be that entrepreneurship is a course best taught in an applied manner beyond the confines of a traditional classroom.
As such, how should entrepreneurship be taught at the senior high school level?
My short answer is that we should be able to SET students up for entrepreneurial activity. I discuss this in detail by offering three points that form the SET acronym.
(1) Social mission. Much has been written and advocated about how businesses are not supposed to be profit-making machines only. Rather, businesses can and should be viable mechanisms for solving social problems such as poverty and job creation. In setting up our students for entrepreneurial activity, they must be exposed to both commercial and social orientations in recognizing opportunities. Some activities that allow for imbibing a pro-social orientation include immersions, ideating, and prototyping products together with marginalized communities.
(2) Entrepreneurship ecosystem. One of the weaknesses of traditional management and entrepreneurship education is the limits of classroom-based pedagogy. To effectively encourage entrepreneurship and authentically perform outcomes-based education, schools should explore cultivating an entrepreneurship ecosystem. Such ecosystem should allow for rapid feedback, iterations of products and business models, and a safe space to fail. Business enterprise simulations through school bazaars and “entrep fairs” can cultivate these action-oriented entrepreneurial education.
(3) Thinking processes. Effective entrepreneurship education goes beyond memorization of concepts. Teaching should be able to instill certain disciplines in terms of thinking processes. For example, my favorite discussion is when I teach frameworks such as the business model canvas (for internal analysis) and PESTEL framework (for external analysis). This allows learners to better make sense of their intuitions, reflections, and assumptions. We should be able to transition to teaching the “how” of thinking instead of telling students “what” to think.
We are at a very important point where we can truly shape the directions of our educational innovations. Although there are still ways to go in perfecting our SHS system, it has provided opportunities to look at how entrepreneurship can be meaningfully taught and learned. It is now in our hands to SET students up for entrepreneurial activity, if not entrepreneurial success.
Patrick Adriel H. Aure is vice-chair of the Management and Organization Department of the Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business of De La Salle University (DLSU), and is a junior research fellow of the DLSU Center for Business Research and Development. He is excited about exploring cases featuring social enterprises, sustainability, innovation, and new business models.