3.8 Development of entrepreneurship competence
In Italy, there is no national strategy on entrepreneurship education. However, in the context of the promotion of lifelong learning introduced into the Italian legal system with the law of 28 June 2012 (art.4, paragraphs 51-68), ever-increasing attention has been given to the development of entrepreneurial skills in formal, non-formal and informal training courses. Italy does not adopt a national definition, but refers to the description of the “entrepreneurship” competence contained in the European Reference Framework on key competences for lifelong learning. It has been used in the national indications for the curriculum of the kindergarten and the first level of education, as well as in the development of a syllabus dedicated to secondary schools to accompany them in introducing entrepreneurship education in a structural way (discussed later).
Regarding primary school and the first level of education, the reference to the key competence “Spirit of initiative and entrepreneurship” is contained in the certification of competences at the end of the first level of education, pursuant to MIUR decree 03.10.2017, n. 742 - Att. B.
In the context of upper secondary school, entrepreneurship education was structurally introduced through the MIUR decree no. 4244 of 13.03.2018. The decree provides for courses aimed at developing attitudes, knowledge, skills and competences useful for self-employment. The courses can start as early as the first two years and then be consolidated in the last three years and provide for the adoption of teaching approaches based on the active involvement of students and which focus on the “practice” of entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurial competence in upper secondary school and vocational training is also promoted through school-work experience (made compulsory by law 107/2015 on the Good School and the related implementing decrees for the reform of the education and training systems on [link to Buona Scuola in the Wiki Education and Training section]) which represents a means of introducing work-based learning into school curricula. In this context, the methodology of the Simulated Training Enterprise (IFS) through which students, supported by a network of real companies, can experiment in the management and simulated set up of virtual companies - is particularly relevant.
At the university level, with the exception of programmes which by their nature devote particular space to subjects such as economics and management (for example, business and economics or management engineering), there are no centralised initiatives to support entrepreneurship education. However, there are numerous universities throughout the country that offer courses to support the creation of new businesses and to enhance the competences of young entrepreneurs, particularly in the context of university business incubators.
Non-formal and informal learning
Regarding non-formal and informal learning, can be surely mentioned Entrecomp, (The European Entrepreneurship Competence Framework), the reference framework for entrepreneurial skills, a bridge between the worlds of education and work, divided into 3 macro areas made up of 15 key skills, which develop 442 learning outcomes. In Italy it is currently present through the community coordinated by Materahub.
EntreComp is a free, flexible reference framework that can be adapted to support the development and understanding of entrepreneurial competence in any setting.
EntreComp has the potential to be used in a variety of ways including:
- supporting policy and practice to develop entrepreneurial skills
- assessing entrepreneurial skills
- supporting training of educators, trainers and teachers to deliver entrepreneurial skills
- to design programmes and learning opportunities
- to recognise and certify skills
EntreComp can be used across sectors and be a key support for collaboration and development work by educators, trainers, employers, professional bodies and policy-makers.
Support for educators in entrepreneurship education
The promotion of entrepreneurial competence development programmes within secondary schools (MIUR decree no. 4244 of 13/03/2018, mentioned above) is accompanied by useful tools for their implementation. The MIUR decree proposes a syllabus - built in collaboration with various stakeholders including business associations, the cooperative world, companies, professional associations (and others) - which provides teachers with examples of possible teaching methods and topics to be proposed to students. These range from topics such as the analysis of personal attitudes, to the management and implementation of ideas, to the development of creativity, to name a few. The syllabus is based on the conceptual model of the already mentioned Entrepreneurship Competence Framework (ENTRECOMP) defined by the European Commission to offer member states a common reference for the development of initiatives to support entrepreneurial competence.