Empowerment, responsibility and action overlap. Yet we still teach that employment is something we depend upon others for. Human Capital Theory [HCT] suggests that education could better empower individuals and society by encouraging self-responsibility for one’s own earning potential using a personal market-place model. At its most basic HTC sees every individual invest in themselves, selling their [increasingly valuable] time to the highest bidder.
Such a model appears to exist to some degree and in some arenas, but it fails a test of true self-responsibility for the majority. This is exemplified by feelings of being beholden to [potential] employers - a predisposition which removes self-responsibility for training, education and development from the individual. It does this by restricting understanding, awareness and the undertaking actions of personal empowerment including esteem, confidence, self-valuation, self-investment and self-employability actions. The question is: Would society benefit from an education which [much more] overtly championed HCT as the norm?
[The following is an extract from a paper recently delivered to employment educators in Romania & Bulgaria:
According to Fagerlind and Saha, (1997):
“Human capital theory provides a basic justification for large public expenditure on education both in developing and developed nations. The theory was consistent
with the ideologies of democracy and liberal progression found in most Western
societies. Its appeal was based upon the presumed economic return of investment
in education both at the macro and micro levels. Efforts to promote investment
in human capital were seen to result in rapid economic growth for society. For
individuals, such investment was seen to provide returns in the form of individual
economic success and achievement.”
At this point it is worth noting that UK ‘investment in education’ almost completely ignores the skills of entrepreneurship, focusing on employable skills with the implied position that to have these one has done what one needs to do to invest in one’s personal capital. Yet as nations, as indeed communities and regions, the commercial skills of realising investments through dynamic
entrepreneurship are ever more in demand and indeed a necessity given the nature of competition. Many who are trained and qualified even to high levels, for example medical doctors, civil servants and academics, do not acquire the entrepreneurial spirit in their training and thus neither society nor they benefit optimally from the investment.
It is proposed that significant areas of deficit exist which costs nations dearly in unrealised potential. The 9 traits which need to be present in order to realise the true potential of the investment made by our education systems are given below. Campaign for Adventure has been successful in creating a fertile social environment, lowering barriers and raising awareness of the positive nature of these traits, so they are more frequently and better applied with resultant increased success for entrepreneurs socially, commercially and environmentally.
Whilst entrepreneurs are more or less effective according to the social and economic environment in which they find themselves, they tend to have all or most of the following traits [Miller (1983), Lumpkin and Dess (1996,2005),Shane and Wenkatamaran, (2000), (Poutziouris, 2003), Aidis and Van Praag (2007), Aidis, Mickiewitz and Sauka (2007), et al.]:
I concur 100% with my fellows here and the reports they are citing etc that It is imperative that every education system puts a lot more emphasis on developing en enterprise and entrepreneur culture at the earliest possible time in children's education.
Unfortunately the reality is that the powers that be in the Dept’s of so called Education, Governments with that responsibility, etc do not yet even after all the information available on the subject, they do not recognize the vital and primary importance of this. The lack of resources and curriculums that are devised do not support entrepreneurial development, it IS as has been pointed out to be that children are taught to want “to get a job” not “create their own enterprise”.
I came to the conclusion some 8 years ago that if you wanted to help bring more and better change into the world, it was by improving the education systems internationally, by empowering young people to be change makers, creating a young, global, social entrepreneurs movement. So I developed a social enterprise programme for schools called Blastbeat ( www.blastbeat.org).
With Blastbeat students organize themselves into Music & Multimedia Companies (MMCs) where they choose the 14 roles necessary to compete as a creative entrepreneurial team in this exciting music business challenge, planning, promoting and hosting a live music event, battle of the bands etc.
Blastbeat leverages young people’s passion for music, multimedia, social media, making and sharing friends and money as they have fun learning and experiencing first hand business, technical, inter/intra-personal, team-work, communication, music, social, media & related skills.
Blastbeat also promotes and encourages young original songwriters & musicians, supporting youth communities on a local & global level, empowering teens to create social enterprises creating community and social capital to help bring about change for the good of society.
Within the Blastbeat programme there are two competitions in one that help encourage a true sense of real life, exciting social entrepreneurship and creative skills.
A) the social enterprise competition- winners receive mentorship and investment to continue to stage al ages music events for their peers.
B) the music competition for competing artists – winners get managed, recorded and prepared for a real career in Music if they really want it.
Blastbeat is a very innovative programme that got some financial support from the DCSF in 2009/ 2010 in the UK, who funded Blastbeat into over 60 schools in Greater London in the last year and surpassed everyone’s expiations.
However the new? Dept for Education with all the cuts that are coming have told us that Blastbeat is not likely to receive any more funding despite its huge success?
This is symptomatic of the lack of focus on what is most important. It is clear there is a lot of work has now to be done to bring the importance of this type of enterprise programme or movement to the new Minister for Education and the Prime Minister’s attention.
That is where the power lies with this new government it is clear to make the necessary top down decisions to give the proper emphasis and funding and importance in the curriculum to entrepreneurial education necessary to make the difference in society.
There is another way and Blastbeat is going to be championing this way and rolling this out to companies across the UK is by engaging volunteer mentors in helping young people understand what it is to be an entrepreneur. Blastbeat has some exciting plans in this area and I will share these with everyone on a separate post as this is already too long!!