National Policy BriefDenmark
ENTREPRENEURSHIP MUST ENTER ADULT EDUCATION
Two conferences held in autumn 2021 under the support of the EU project SIATE have helped to focus on the need for entrepreneurship and innovation in the future to help further develop and enhance the content of adult education (avu). Entrepreneurship and innovation are important components of the democratic citizenship education of the future and must contribute to making general adult education more labour market relevant and at the same time support social inclusion. The two conferences are part of an Erasmus+ KA3 project, which at a political level will make recommendations for entrepreneurship in adult education in the 5 countries, Denmark, Italy, Germany, Ireland, and Norway.
The project is a European collaborative project and the first of its kind in Denmark within the adult education sector. VUC Storstrøm and HF & VUC FYN have held the two Danish conferences. The conferences took place in connection with a major three-year EU-funded project: SIATE Social Inclusion of Adults Through Entrepreneurship, which aims to strengthen and develop the use of innovation and entrepreneurship as a tool for social inclusion.
It is the experience from the conferences and the associated workshops with participants from the different countries that form the basis for the recommendation below.
At the conferences, appendix 50 of the avu consolidation act was discussed, where the possibility of an additional topic around entrepreneurship was discussed to integrate entrepreneurship into adult education.
There are many European and Danish experiences that entrepreneurship is a direct path to social inclusion in the society which you are part of. Most people want to be self-supporting, to contribute to creating a good life for themselves – without economic dependence on others or on society, and experience shows that working with entrepreneurship and innovation can be the “ice-breaker” that can create a new and independent life. Hans Lassen has expressed the same views in his PhD, which shows that entrepreneurship will promote our target group’s competences, social inclusion and job opportunities.
The work with entrepreneurship and innovation can create social inclusion for the lowest educated and the large group of immigrants who are trying to find a way of life and place in Danish society, which is confirmed by Katia Dupret, associate professor and researcher at RUC.
Many students in adult education want to contribute, involve and participate actively in the local community, but need tools to get started. Others have dreams of their own business; some may already have started a business or know others who have started a business. The dreams are big and how can we help the dreams on the way and to become more sustainable and qualified so that they survive the first difficult time?
The experience from e.g. the “Foundation for Entrepreneurship” shows that working with entrepreneurship in youth and adult education can motivate participants to work very hard with entrepreneurship and innovation, but the focus on these topics also leads to an increased motivation to learn more Danish, mathematics, and languages.
The experts’ presentations at the conferences showed that there is an exciting development potential for adult education (avu) by working more purposefully with entrepreneurship and innovation, and that this particular work will enhance social inclusion for the target group in adult education. In this way, avu becomes even more realistic and relevant to the individual student. Thus, it is an important part of general education.
In principle, there are 2 ways to go in order to strengthen the work with entrepreneurship and innovation in adult education.
The first way is to develop principles for “entrepreneurship and innovation” in all subjects at avu, Appendix 50 in the same way as professional reading and sustainable development, which – if successful – will provide the best coherent education and understanding of how the individual student in the future can work better and more qualified with these subjects.
At the conference, Appendix 50 of the avu consolidation act was up for discussion in the working groups. In particular, it was the lack of visibility of the topics that was problematized. But also, a consensus that entrepreneurship will strengthen the purpose and goals of Appendix 50.
The work in the individual subjects (single-subject system) can, for example, be completed with a thematic course of approximately 30-40 lessons (which is taximeter funded) that meets the requirements of Appendix 50. Students can gather the knowledge that they have gained in the individual subjects and draw up an overall project task, which is given an independent grade based on an internal assessment.
In this way, the topics in Appendix 50 gain more visibility and emphasis in the students’ education and importance to the students’ education is made visible.
The other way is to create an independent course “Entrepreneurship & Innovation” of 45-60 lessons, where the students work purposefully with the development of e.g. good ideas, business ideas, financial sustainability, risk assessment etc. – and finish the subject with a regular exam, like other avu subjects.
We are happy to make ourselves available for further work with description, inspiration for teaching and implementation of entrepreneurship and innovation in adult education.