History of the initiative
The objective of the Doctoral School of Education at the University of Szeged is to prepare students for engaging in a wide spectrum of research activities related to learning and instruction, for applying a plethora of research methods, and for studying the social, economic and historical conditions of schooling. The course has no previous educational traditions, and the first time it was organised was in 2020. The PhD course took place in a total of 15 hours duration, on three occasions in November and December 2020.
The direct antecedents of the course go back to a European Union funded project carried out in co-operation with selected primary schools in six countries. It is important to extend the general approach and the results achieved in a broader context, too. The international students who are learning at the Doctoral School are properly fit to this purpose. The organiser of the background project underlines that the general methodology was developed at the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) after which the PhD course was organised by University of Szeged (USz).
The main target group of the initiative is the international PhD students in the field of Education Sciences. At the PhD level students/participants are highly motivated to learn and the range of the students’ future workplaces is wide and may vary from higher education institutes, universities, research centres, to primary and secondary schools.
Aims and objectives
The main goal of the course is to help the students to understand the relationship between entrepreneurial competence, sustainability, and civic education. By thinking in this framework, they can embed this approach into any further developmental programme (i.e. into their everyday teaching practice, subject-related activities). An additional aim is forming attitudes based on students’ own experiences, prior knowledge in the field of entrepreneurship education and education for sustainability.
Activities and learning outcomes
The programme is an elective seminar course in English for international PhD students at the Doctoral School of Education (3×5 hours) in the Autumn 2020/2021 semester. In the Doctoral School the students select the preferred courses from the elective courses list first, then sign up for the planned courses. There are between 8-12 participants in each cycle and individual and group work are frequently used work forms. Its realisation is based on analogue (face-to-face) methods but the course is adaptable to a digital environment as well.
To achieve these aims, the main content elements covered in the course include:
• Entrepreneurial culture and their interdisciplinary connections.
• Social entrepreneurship.
• Developing social entrepreneurship competences as a part of social-emotional education (SEL).
• Teaching and learning with student-orientated strategy, project-oriented- and challenge-based learning.
• Educational models and frameworks of developing entrepreneurial competencies for all kinds of schools, teaching-learning forms and in different subjects.
• Planning and managing learning projects and situations at different level of education based on the Youth Start/UKids framework.
The course is based on a usable pedagogical innovation in everyday school practice applying the challenge-based methodology with existing materials and tools to develop children’s social-emotional skills.
The students examine the theoretical and practical basis of entrepreneurship education from different scientific viewpoints. International students analyse the curriculum of this area in their home country, explain the problems and possibilities for others. A flexible and transferable interdisciplinary learning programme with wide methodological tools is discussed for successful implementation of entrepreneurship competence at primary and secondary levels of education. Finding a suitable methodology and adapting it into the school practice and teacher-training programme of a given country is also an important part of the course.
Students are encouraged to make a connection between the acquired knowledge and the educational traditions of their home country; assess the presented teaching tools and create usable materials on their teaching area by adapting the pedagogical materials (class books, student activity books, animated videos, mindfulness exercises and non-violent communication exercises).
The main learning outputs produced in the PhD course are:
• course diaries from each student (documentations and reflections)
• challenge-based project plan (pair- or group work)
• short essay and presentation about the problems and (hypothetical) opportunities of entrepreneurship education at schools in their home country.
Students also receive credits and grades for completing the course. The grade includes a seminar activity, a power-point presentation and a compilation of a project plan.
Breaking barriers for impact
On a policy and systematic level, the educators’ methodological and conceptual freedom allows for the successful implementation of the initiative. On the other hand, a supportive atmosphere and hosting of a professional community, as well as a commitment to the topic and the building a supportive network or community support success on an organisational and individual level, respectively.
Finally, one of the most important results of the most important results of the course is sensitisation: the elements of entrepreneurial competence are incorporated into students’ everyday thinking, they can apply them in their everyday lives, or they can transfer and extend them to another project. An interesting observation from the course was that international students have more positive view of entrepreneurship. It was also a fantastic that they think women today should also do business and be an entrepreneur. This bodes well for the future of entrepreneurship education, and entrepreneurship in general.
Co-ordinator of project/initiative:
Dr M. Hercz
Social media / relevant online channels:
Publications, resources, course material
• Davies, I., Evans, M., Fülöp, M., Kiwan, D., Peterson, A., Sim, J. B.-Y. (eds.). Taking action for change: Educating for youth civic engagement and activism. York: University of York
• Hercz, M., Pozsonyi, F. & Takács, N. 2020. Supporting a Sustainable Way of Life-long Learning in the Frame of Challenge-based Learning. Discourse and Communication for Sustainable Education
• Lindner, J. (2018). Entrepreneurship education for a sustainable future. Discourse and Communication for Sustainable Education, 9(1), 115–127.
Featured image by University of Szeged