An assessment of entrepreneurial intentions of secondary school learners in selected areas
Barnard, Juanita Marlyn
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This study highlights the need for a youth entrepreneurship education program of value in South African secondary schools. It examines the enterprising tendencies of grade 12 learners in 10 secondary schools in the Lejweleputswa District of the Free State province, South Africa, using the General Enterprising Tendency (GET) test. An investigation into the current status of entrepreneurship in South Africa revealed that there is a lack of entrepreneurs and not enough people who have the orientation and skills to create new businesses. This leads to a situation where the South African economy performs poorly and the recent financial crisis exuberated South Africa’s challenges in terms of poverty, unemployment and income inequality. In addition, youth unemployment has worsened as a result of the recession, because the youth lack the needed qualifications, experience and skills to compete for the few job opportunities in the labour market. Entrepreneurship and innovation are widely seen as key sources of renewed economic growth, creating jobs and advancing human welfare. This study shows that the South African youth has a positive enterprising tendency. The ‘General Enterprising Tendency Questionnaire’, completed by 530 grade 12 learners was evaluated and learners scored within the average score, although at the lower end of the suggested average. When the questionnaire’s constructs are evaluated, learners scored below the suggested average score on ‘need for achievement’, ‘need for autonomy’, ‘creative tendency’ and ‘moderate/calculated risks’, but above the suggested average for ‘drive and determination’, but it can be conclude that learners shows a tendency to be entrepreneurial. However, the study suggests that grade 12 learners in the Lejweleputswa sample have overrated expectations on the ‘drive and determination construct’. It appears that they do not have the propensity to be creative and have a low drive to be autonomous. The study also reveals that there are no practical significant differences between the mean values for the demographic variables school, age, gender, home language and ethnic group regarding the measured constructs. Major shortfalls in the current education system are highlighted, including teachers with no previous knowledge of commercial subjects that are forced to teach entrepreneurship, most schools do not implement Economic and Management Science (EMS) as learning area and as from 2013, EMS will only be introduced to the curriculum in the Senior phase (grade 7 to 9). In addition, learners are not motivated to be creators of jobs, but to rather seek employment. The study concludes that public schools in South Africa do not have the capacity to implement a successful program of youth entrepreneurship education. The involvement of Government, Department of Education, schools, teachers, parents, learners, entrepreneurs and organised business is needed to promote youth entrepreneurship in South Africa. The study expands on recommendations and presents a national strategy to enhance youth entrepreneurship in South African schools, but concludes that future research is needed.