In Poland, entrepreneurship education is part of secondary school syllabus. In many cases, due to the fact that there are not many hours devoted to it, this subject is taught by teachers who teach other subjects on a regular basis and who not always have sufficient knowledge concerning entrepreneurship-related issues. They, of course, need to attend some courses, but many of them feel it is not enough to make them understand what entrepreneurship competence is about and how to teach it. A few years ago, the National Bank of Poland in cooperation with four universities, undertook a curious initiative. Each of the four universities (University of Economics in Katowice, University of Economics in Poznań, SGH Warsaw School of Economics and the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin) offered very cheap post-graduate studies for up to 50 in-service and pre-service teachers. At University of Economics 47 people enrolled and all of them graduated from the studies. The studies were in 88% financed by the National Bank of Poland (12% – by the students). The four higher education institutions formed a consortium and jointly prepared the study programme built on their experience with relation to general knowledge referring to entrepreneurship-related issues and methodology of teaching it. The nearly free opportunity and the study programme prepared by experts were obvious advantages over other programmes of similar studies. Thanks to the project, that was part of economic education programme, 180 teachers of other subject areas were given an opportunity to become entrepreneurship teachers as well.
About the studies
The studies comprised three semesters (300 contact hours) and the following topics were covered: company organisation, the role of state in the economy, planning one’s career and shaping pro-entrepreneurial attitudes of people, methodology of entrepreneurship teaching, etc. As it can be seen, the aspects elaborated during the studies concerned broad contemporary understanding of entrepreneurship competence. Furthermore, teaching methodology, the very subject of entrepreneurship education, was also taught and the students then had to test their newly gained knowledge in practice, during their internship.
After graduation, newly trained and re-trained teachers were eligible to teach a secondary school subject: basics of entrepreneurship. What is more, the mindset of many of them changed as they started understanding the notion of entrepreneurship in broader terms. This way, not only while entrepreneurship teaching, bit also while teaching their first subject, they transfer some pro-active attitudes to younger generations. After the free edition of studies finished, some of the involved universities decided to offer commercial studies based on the programme that still gives the same opportunity for new teachers.
Dr. Bartłomiej J. Gabryś as entrepreneurship education promoter
At University of Economics in Katowice, prof. Wojciech Dyduch and dr. Bartłomiej J. Gabryś were the initiators of the studies. Dr. Bartłomiej J. Gabryś was a co-author of the programme in the consortium. He works at Entrepreneurship Department, participated in domestic and global scientific projects (i.e. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor project) and presents his research at prestigious conferences in Europe, Asia and America. He supports business people with his knowledge, especially with relation to developing their own business, organising it and motivating employees. The most important area of his activities in view of the objectives of PIETE project is, however, spreading entrepreneurship-related knowledge among youngsters. He organises workshops for young people at university and he also visits schools in the Silesian region where he talks about entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial and pro-active life attitudes. He co-organises Entrepreneurship Education Contest that is a big event focusing attention of several thousands of young people every year and he is a member of the Association of Children’s Economic Universities where he encourages the economic development of children from early years. Dr. Gabryś is also a politician interested in developing the Silesian region and local business environment.