In this blog article, our Hungarian partners from the University of Szeged delve into an analysis of the Hungarian National Core Curriculum, attempting to find out more about the interpretation of the “entrepreneurship competence as a skill” and the approaches to its integration into a wide multi-subject school curricula.

Shortly after the European Union proposed the nine key competences for lifelong learning in 2000, the Hungarian Educational Bodies have responded to the recommendation by integrating those competences into the National Core Curriculum (NCC). At present, the nine key competences including the sense of initiative and entrepreneurship are among the general educational goals of the core curriculum. Besides introducing the key competences, the NCC s lists several areas of development related to entrepreneurship: critical thinking, creativity, initiative, problem solving, risk assessment, decision-making, and constructive management of feelings.

These areas have great significance in the development of sense of initiative and entrepreneurship as well. “Without content there is no knowledge, without knowledge there are no skills to use”. While commonly mentioned in relation to education, this statement is also appropriate in the case of entrepreneurship competences development. If entrepreneurship competence is viewed as a skill or an ability which helps children apply their knowledge in everyday life, then an important question arises. Is the school development of the competence achieved through everyday examples or lifelike situations? It is worth investigating the NCC and the framework curricula in view of the knowledge contents (e.g. lifelike topics are suggested to discussed) students should learn according to the documents. At what extents do the suggested knowledge contents and expected skills harmonize in the documents?

How does NCC define the terms?

The NCC defines entrepreneurship as the following:

“Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship helps an individual both in everyday life and at work to get to know his or her broader environment and to be able to grasp the opportunities that lie ahead. This competence comprises knowledge, creativity, propensity to induce changes and risk-taking as well as developing and implementing plans in order to achieve objectives. It serves as a basis for more specific knowledge and skills which are needed for the pursuit of economic activities.”

Necessary knowledge, on the one hand, involves recognizing and analyzing the opportunities and challenges for personal, professional and/or business activities, on the other hand, a broader understanding of how the economy and the world of money works. Individuals should also be conversant with the financial and legal conditions of businesses.

Skills and abilities such as planning, organizing, leading, managing, delegating, analyzing, communicating, evaluating experiences, as well as risk assessment and risk-taking, individual and team work are part of this competence.

A positive attitude is characterized by independence, creativity and innovation in personal and societal contexts, as much as at work. It is conditional upon motivation and determination to achieve goals, be they personal, shared or work-related goals or efforts.

The most salient aspect of the definition is that it considers the person being developed not as a child or a student. Rather, it regards him/her as an adult who already possesses the detailed knowledge, skills and attitudes based on the previously acquired knowledge. The necessary developmental steps to facilitate the skills development of the students are not detailed in the core curriculum (the necessary prior knowledge and the final requirements are absent).

Does NCC promote the integration of entrepreneurial skills development into all subject areas?

In the NCC the content related to entrepreneurship competence only appears in the case of two subject areas (f out of 11 subject areas): Way of life and practicing skills and Man and society. In the case of the former one the development of entrepreneurship competence appears as a general goal, while the latter one aims at teaching of entrepreneurial knowledge (where the document details this task only in two lines). Additionally, the analysis of the curriculum framework for secondary education reveals that entrepreneurship competence is not integrated into the subject areas. The need for the development of the entrepreneurship skills appears as a general educational goal along with the development of the other key competences. As an exception, the two school subjects’ curricula (ISCED 3), History and Geography, do mention the opics explicitly aiming at the development of entrepreneurship skills. However, those subjects are not well-developed in the grammar schools. The topics taught in grammar schools focus solely on macroeconomic processes. Transdisciplinary skills needed for the development of the entrepreneurial mindset are scarce. Only during the discussion of larger economic issues (e.g. financial and economic culture, global economic processes, place of Hungary in the Carpathian Basin and in Europe) students learn factual knowledge related to entrepreneurship and solely in factual fashion.

We can clearly see that the NCC and the curriculum framework consider the entrepreneurship competence and related skills development from the factual point of view. The curricula documents – especially the framework curriculum – only focus on rising the awareness of the students of the economic processes, and quite frankly, overlook the soft-skills development related to entrepreneurship. . The current curriculum documents do not provide enough information on how teachers can effectively enlist the attitudes needed for a successful entrepreneurial mindset development. There is still quite a way for a Hungarian formal education policy-making to interpret and promote the entrepreneurial skills development, specifically on the school level.

Provided by: University of Szeged

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