Partners will bring the following experiences and competences to the project:
Poland: Because of our experience with previous Comenius and Youth in Action projects carried out in our school, we feel fully competent and prepared to coordinate the work of all the partners. Our school cooperates with many institutions, including small local businesses and companies. One of them is “Pottery Village” in Kamionka, a non-profit organization that specializes in supporting people from rural areas in starting and managing their own businesses. They can offer us assistance with organizing workshops concerning various aspects of entrepreneurial education. Our teaching staff has experience in implementing and managing regional, national and international projects, motivating students to become active members of society on both local and European level.
Germany: For almost 10 years, we have had a course on economics, with entrepreneurial skills as one of the main curricular topics. We also have altogether 26 partners that help us in our economic education. They define projects that our students work on, enable internships for our students and support us through their know-how and infrastructure. Finally, we have already formed 3 businesses at school, one of which has existed for ten years. The project would give us a chance for an additional framework where both our international exchanges and our activities in economy could be matched.
Greece: The Greek school has established long cooperation in the implementation of various national and European projects in the field of entrepreneurship. Best example is the implementation of a Leonardo- Transfer of Innovation project which successfully transfered know-how from Spain to Greece and other countries in the field of promotion of entrepreneurship among young students in this difficult time of European and global economic crisis. Our school has also carried out an extensive project in developing entrepreneurial skills in our students.
Slovakia: There are two main fields of study at our school, commerce and regional tourism management, both of which are connected to the project topic. The school curriculum involves subjects such as Management, Marketing, Economy, Accounting, Administration and Correspondence, Business English, Project Preparation, etc. Our students can also choose a voluntary subject Students’ Firm where they can gain experience with setting up a company, its managing, promoting and problem solving. They are taught how to cooperate with other students, how to be creative and motivated for the fulfillment of given tasks and how to deal with the basic duties related to the company objectives. Relying on the abovementioned experience, our school could be a good adviser in the course of fulfilling the project tasks. Our teachers could provide the participating students and teachers with some know-how in the field of entrepreneurship and the topics connected to it. This way the project’s purpose is supported by our experience in this field.
Spain: Institut Guillem Catà has just had experience in one previous Comenius Project but we still think that we could contribute to this project with our expertise in other areas. For example, our school offers Marketing and Tourism Vocational Studies (tertiary level), which are both relevant to our project, and has a team of very competent teachers that are willing to get involved. We can also offer our expertise in Quality Management and assessment. Besides, as the school also offers a wide range of different vocational studies, we have a vast net of partner bussiness and enterprises who cooperate with us regularly.
Entrepreneurship education practice at schools for a long time has been neglected, or at least not treated with appropriate attention. It has often been unstructured and varied in quality. As a result, the European Union emphasized its importance with the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs (Lisbon European Council 2000 and 2005), which stressed the necessity of supporting educational and career choices as well as entrepreneurship education in schools and colleges by the member countries.
According to the survey conducted among the students of our school, 40,7% of girls and 47% of boys do not know how to plan their future educational and career choices. They lack the knowledge of how to go about finding a job, write a CV or covering letter or prepare for a job interview. They also don’t know how to start and manage their own business, advertise it and work in a team. Not having all these necessary skills and knowledge severely limits the students’ future career options and increases their potential unemployability. This in turn leads to the poor quality of life for individuals and negatively impacts the economy of the region. To prevent all this, it is essential for students to gain entrepreneurial skills, to develop key competences, to become prepared for the competition in the work environment and to gain tools to be the citizens of the European Union. Students from different countries were working with the same European tools and use common language, just as most transnational companies in modern world do.
Students from participating countries had to realise that they needed to start investing in their personal and professional development, in order to become self-sufficient participants in the global labour market.
The main objectives of our project were:
The main aim of our project, concerning the EU priorities, was to improve the learning process at our schools and, mainly, to contribute to a closer connection between the education and the labour market. Thus, the mentioned learning, teaching and training activities represented an important means contributing to fulfilling the project tasks in a way that they will help us to:
1) Support the quality and innovation in educational processes:
The entrepreneurial studies and all the theoretical business knowledge are a good basis when someone wants to become a successful businessman. For that reason, the participating countries were ready to share all the knowledge referring to this field of study highlighting the improvement of quality of education and implementing some new innovative educational methods and materials. The students were led to use the well-established business oriented web pages, data projectors and other types of modern information technologies, tablet and smartphone applications, all in order to support a high quality and innovative educational approach.
2) Support the cooperation and reciprocal exchange of learning and teaching knowledge and experiences:
The participating countries shared the learning and teaching knowledge and experiences and decided on some common business lesson plans which are be used not only in the Entrepreneurship Clubs, but also as teaching aids during Entrepreneurship classes. This way, the teachers and students of all involved countries had to cooperate and simultaneously prepare for the particular project meetings (focused on specific entrepreneurial topics) where they worked together in mixed groups and prepare the specific products of the meeting. This way, the communication and the information exchange was done not only through the internet, but also personally during the short-term project meetings.
3) Get the recognition and validation of all obtained competencies and skills.
After each short term exchange all the students taking part in it received a certificate confirming what he/she had learned, which skills he/she had gained or improved etc. In addition, the participating students included all the obtained knowledge, skills and competencies into their EuropassCVs.
4) Develop the entrepreneurial thinking and skills:
During every short-term project meeting all the participants (students and teachers) had an opportunity to get to know the local businesses, get acquainted with their know-how in the field and then, after returning to their countries, the had an opportunity to include the obtained knowledge in the work of their Entreneurship Clubs as well as to apply it in the future entrepreneurial tasks. Moreover, the students, under the supervision of their teachers and local experts in the given field, had to complete the given tasks aimed to develop their entrepreneurial skills and thinking. Every project meeting allowed the students from the participating countries to cooperate, share their knowledge, compete in fulfilling the specific tasks and compare the products of their work with the rest of the participants. The students learned how to manage teamwork, how to distribute tasks among the team members, how to plan an activity and follow all the steps in order to accomplish the set goals. These learning/teaching/training activities meant a remarkable contribution in the process of preparation and education of the young entrepreneurs.
5) Share the capacities of all involved institutions following especially the informal learning.
All the participating schools shared their capacities and experiences during the students’ exchanges in order to secure the most productive meetings for all: the teachers and the students. An emphasis was put on informal learning, which was conducted during all the workshops and meetings with the selected local companies. Through some practical meetings with the foreign businessmen and personal cooperation among the foreign participants on given tasks the students learnt much more than just through the internet cooperation (social networks, emails, etc.).