The enhancement of selected entrepreneurial competencies of grade 11 learners in Business studies
Meintjes, Albertus Jacobus
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Different researchers and governments globally have recognised the importance of entrepreneurship in economic growth and job creation. In addition, entrepreneurial activity is crucial, locally and globally. Furthermore, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) recognises the contribution of entrepreneurial activity to economic growth and measures it by means of the total early stage entrepreneurial activity index (TEA). Since the TEA in South Africa is very low, the need exist for an investigation into the reasons thereof. GEM uses the entrepreneurial conditions such as entrepreneurial finance, government policies, government programmes, entrepreneurial education, research and development transfer, commercial and legal infrastructure for entrepreneurship, internal market openness and cultural and social norms to measure entrepreneurial activity. Viewing the different entrepreneurial conditions, education is recognised as one of the largest inhibiters of entrepreneurship since 2001. In this study an investigation on education in South Africa was conducted. The goal of this study was to enhance selected entrepreneurial competencies of grade 11 learners in Business Studies. The literature study indicated that various entrepreneurship views and definitions exist. The focus of this study is on the individual characteristics of the entrepreneurs. The literature study also indicated that different terms exist to describe these individual characteristics of the entrepreneurs. For the purpose of this study the term competency was used. Thirdly the literature study also showed that various entrepreneurial competencies exist. A selection needed to be done and by using the curriculum of Business Studies, grades 10 – 12 only certain competencies were selected. The following entrepreneurial competencies are used in this study: problem solving, creativity, flexibility, risk-taking, goal orientation, planning, teamwork, communication, self-confidence and capacity to learn. In this study a multi-method research design was used. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were used. An intervention took place with an experimental (23 learners) and control group (24 learners). Firstly the experimental group was exposed to the intervention with the control group attending normal classes. After the completion of the intervention on the experimental group the roles were changed. The intervention of each group consisted of 24 days (28 sessions of between 35 and 43 minutes). In the quantitative research three tests were used to determine the possible enhancement of the selected entrepreneurial competencies. Both the experimental and control group were exposed to the three tests. In the qualitative research observations and interviews were used to measure the possible enhancement of the entrepreneurial competencies. Learners from both the experimental and control group were used in the interviews. The results of the quantitative and qualitative research clearly show an enhancement of entrepreneurial competencies of the learners. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the proposed framework is clearly highlighted. The use of the proposed framework will assist teachers in linking the theory (textbook) and practice (operations of the business in the simulation). In addition, the teacher can expose the learners to entrepreneurial competencies and therefore develop and enhance it. Another advantage is that this teaching approach can be included in the normal Business Studies classes without any interruption of normal school activities. A limitation of the study is the period of the intervention. A recommendation is that the proposed strategy for the enhancement of entrepreneurial can be used through out the academic year for the enhancement of entrepreneurial competencies. This will ensure that the entrepreneurial competencies are focussed on continuously and learners are empowered in this regard. With this study the researcher attempted to address the challenges in education in South Africa through the enhancement of entrepreneurial competencies and thus to address the low TEA.