Thursday, 17 December 2015

Inclusive education

South Africa is a country with a history of exclusion. It wouldn't be stretching the truth to say that exclusion is the basis on which the entire apartheid system was based. Which is why, in the post-1994 democratic South Africa, such an emphasis is placed on integrating the previously excluded, in a myriad ways.

Consequently one of the most important functions of education in this country is to equip previously excluded people with the skills and knowledge they need to live productive lives, with a full measure of self-worth, and to make meaningful contributions to their communities and the country as a whole.

One of the traditionally excluded and neglected communities is that of people with disabilities. Society in general poses serious challenges for such individuals and there are many ways in which they are still excluded. So it's very important for the education system to do its utmost to prepare and equip people with disabilities, in order that they too may make meaningful contributions to their communities and the country, and live fulfilled lives.


The concept of inclusive education

Inclusive education is the opposite of the previous approach to educating learners with disabilities. Previous thinking was that it was most beneficial to separate these learners from the general school population in order to provide them with specialised attention and assistance.

Inclusive education, however, is based on the concept of teaching those with and without disabilities in the same class. This idea is supported by research that indicates that there are significant positive effects of this approach for learners with disabilities.

Of course, it's not that simple – merely placing these learners in the same class is not enough. Positive outcomes are achieved with inclusive education when there is ongoing advocacy, planning, support and commitment.


The principles of inclusive education

We can identify three central principles in the inclusive education approach.

 The first principle is that all learners belong, and should be treated and made to feel that way. Inclusive education's simple approach is that all children are equally valuable – both intrinsically as human beings and in society – and they should have the same opportunities. The important point about inclusive education is that it focuses on learners with disabilities participating in everyday activities, as they would if they did not have these disabilities.

Of course this is done with support, because one has to be realistic about the challenges that many of these learners face. It's the social lessons that are the most meaningful in this context – learners with disabilities should be exposed to opportunities to make friendships and ways to have different types of memberships in society, as represented by their peer groups.

The second principle is that every child has a right to be included. Inclusive education proponents make it very clear that in the context of a society that places a priority on educating its youth, inclusive education is a right, not a privilege. Learners with disabilities should have the same access to the general education curriculum as those without disabilities have.

The third principle is that different people learn in different ways. This means that inclusive education places an emphasis on helping learners to learn and participate in ways that are meaningful to them. And it proposes exposing learners to as many different ways of learning as possible.


How does this affect South Africa?

In a country now dedicated to equality and access to education for all, inclusive education should be a standard part of the educational approach. Equality can only be said to have been achieved when we give those with disabilities the very same chances for success through education that others get.
Let's start a conversation.

Let me know what you think here or connect with me on Twitter (@EduloanSA)

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Educating the girl child in South Africa

In many senses our country has come a long way in providing better education to more people. We see schools where there hadn't previously been any, and children of all races able to access any school they choose, provided they can afford it. This is a far cry from the conditions under the apartheid regime, where equal access to education was deliberately prevented.

However, there is one burning issue that we must still properly address in our efforts to provide quality education for all. This is the particular challenge of educating the girl child. On the surface it may appear to be a simple matter of giving girl children access to equal education. This ignores the underlying, systemic challenges that the girl child faces, both in life and, consequently, on her educational journey.

Girl child access to education

Looking north across Africa we see that the girl child generally enjoys less access to education than boys. Enrolment rates at primary schools are typically lower for girls, and their proportion continues to drop off as they move through secondary and tertiary education.

Fortunately, in South Africa things have become more equal. For instance, female enrolment at higher education institutions has steadily increased over the years, reaching parity with males in 2001.

This does not mean, however, that the plight of the girl child has improved much. Even though they have better access to education, the ability to take advantage of this right is sabotaged by a multitude of factors that have an impact on their lives as a whole. This has caused a situation where, despite virtually equal enrolment rates, girls have a much higher drop-out rate than boys.

The girl child's reality

The girl child is subjected to the worst results of historical injustice and current social prejudice, particularly in the rural areas of South Africa.

One of the most critical realities that she faces is the horrendous rate of violence and harassment against women and girls. This can have huge ramifications for the girl child, not only psychologically but also for her education. The psychological effects of harassment or rape are long lasting. These can in turn manifest in the classroom, including the inability to concentrate and social withdrawal. Then there is the high rate of teenage pregnancy, which is related to the sexual violence incidence. Many young girls are left with children that they have to raise, even though they themselves are mere children. This is a significant contributor to school drop-outs.

There are other factors that prevent the girl child from getting the most out of educational opportunities. Poverty is a serious obstacle, not only in the sense of being able to afford education, but in a much deeper way. With poverty generally comes some form of malnourishment. This prevents optimal development in a child, which can lead to later learning problems.

Of course it can truthfully be said that poverty affects boys too, but the unfortunate reality is that poverty has a far greater impact on women than on men. Girls are disproportionally affected by cultural and economic issues, and are also responsible for domestic duties from an early age.

HIV/AIDS has also had a severe impact on girl child education. There has been an increase in child-headed families, due to AIDS fatality rates among the previous generation – and the responsibility for looking after the family falls disproportionately to the girl child.

Other, perhaps more subtle, conditions contribute to the challenges that the girl child faces in education. Relatively simple issues to solve, like a lack of sufficient sanitary facilities, negatively affect the girl child's educational experience.

What to do for the girl child

This is admittedly not an easy problem to solve. It's clear that the challenge of educating the girl child is a societal one, requiring interventions and development in many diverse areas. We need to put in a concerted effort across all levels of society so that the girl child can start to derive the most out of her education.

In many ways, solving the issues that girl children face requires solving the issues that our country as a whole faces. However, as we do this, it's important to remember that the girl child faces additional challenges that need to be squarely addressed. In essence, the challenge of the girl child is also the challenge of all women in our society today.

Let's start a conversation. Let me know what you think here or connect with me on Twitter (@EduloanSA)

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Getting ready for exams – how to study like a genius.

We all get nervous and stressed when it’s that time of the year again. By that time of the year we mean exams or test weeks and if you’re still at school or varsity this happens more often than not.
You really don’t need to be stressed or nervous, all you need is to be prepared and ready, this makesa world of difference.  Give yourself the best chance with these 10 study tips to study like a genius!
  1. Begin preparing early
    The best possible way for you to do well during exams or test weeks is to pay attention during class, every minute that you aren’t giving your full attention means many more minutes of studying and trying to understand later on.

  2. Know your teacher/professor and have a good relationship
    This is fundamental in achieving good results, to have good relations with your study instructor means that you enjoy the course and if something is unclear to you, you will consult with him/her later or during class to see to it that you understand everything fully.

  3. Form a study group
    Not only will other students be able to help you understand the material, but by helping others you are actually teaching yourself. Remember that this is a study group and not a socializing event and you will need to stay focused on why you are there

  4. Organize your study space
    Make sure you have enough space to spread all your material and notes out. Get yourself comfortable and keep all distractions out of sight.

  5. Flow charts and diagrams work best!
    Use flow charts and diagrams to review your work visually. People tend to remember visual information better. Condense your revision notes into one-page diagrams to reflect when nearing the examination date.

  6. Practise on old examination papers or tests
    After you have studied the relevant material, practice on old papers to test your knowledge and do so under test conditions.  This will help comfort you to know that you will be able to complete the paper within the allocated time.

  7. Take regular breaks for 10 to 20 minutes
    Studying for an entire day might make you feel good, but this could actually be counterproductive. Studies have shown that for long-term retention of knowledge, regular breaks are crucial.

  8. Eat well
    Keep away from heavy saturated foods such as margarine and foods with high sugar levels. You will need to eat balanced meals, containing foods such as eggs, fruit, cereal, lean meat and vegetables. Don’t overeat, rather eat dark chocolate as a treat as studies have shown that this helps  boost your brain.

  9. Get to bead early
    Allow for your body to get the correct amount of rest that it needs to perform the following day.  Thus plan your day so that you will get to bed early and allow for yourself to relax before falling asleep.

  10. Wake up nice and early on the day you are writing
    Give yourself enough time to get up and get to the examination location on time. Getting up nice and early will help you to start the exam/test stress free and with a clear mind.

The privilege of education in South Africa

Being a citizen of such a beautiful and diverse country as South Africa is an immense privilege and one we regularly take for granted.

Not only are we the only country in the world with 11 official languages, but we have a rich and powerful history of reconciliation and forgiveness. Our country has also delivered one of the most powerful figures in the history of mankind, Madiba, the father of our nation.

As diverse and as beautiful as this country might be we do not always realize the task that we as citizens have to bear to uphold this legacy of beauty and greatness, no we rather leave it for the person sitting next to us. We disregard the responsibility of being loyal and responsible citizens that was fought for by so many.

Totsie Memela, CEO of Eduloan, recently said in an Interview with SAfm; that education is your way out of your circumstance, your way of taking responsibility for your life.  Never has this been more true for us as a nation and a country as now.

The mistake we make, is to think that opportunities such as education is a right and not a privilege.  And rightfully so, the basic need to be educated is global, but many only view this as a part of the circle of maturing, of growing up.

Mandela said that education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.  To really realize this, we need to accept the fact that not everyone wants to change the world and therefor there are those that take education for granted. The reality is this, what has been taught to you, no one can ever take away from you. Your education is what shapes your opinion and views.  You don’t know what you don’t know, it’s as simple as that.

Education is the path to development. It creates choices and opportunities for people in terms of access to employment, reduces burdens of poverty and disease, and empowers people. We need to realize that for everyone, education produces a more skilled and competitive workforce, thus opening the doors to economic and social prosperity.

If this were to be true, why are we taking education for granted?

Perhaps it’s not an economically viable option for everyone at this stage. However the example of other European countries such as Austria and the Netherlands, who are succeeding in providing almost free university education for all EU students, suggests that it would not be impossible to provide cheaper education. 

The question then is this; would education be regarded as a privilege and be embraced by everyone once it’s free?  It might be, but that will only be determined once it’s in motion.  For now, we need to realize that even though we can consider Education a basic human right, we need to realize that this in not yet true for everyone. So if you have been through school, college or university; be thankful for the experience the privilege of it. Especially for having done it, in such a beautiful and diverse country.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Leadership in the youth

Developing leadership traits among the youth of South Africa is a critical requirement in order to produce the next generation of leaders. This is true of all fields. No matter what the endeavour or environment, be it government, the corporate world, in communities or individual entrepreneurship - the country needs those who are equipped to take central roles in guiding us into the future.

Why is youth leadership so important?

It has been shown time and again that developing leadership among the youth makes a significant contribution to community development. Youths with leadership skills are generally better able to make a difference in solving community problems and these people are more likely to participate in civic activities1.

The development of leadership also has a great effect on the individual. Leadership is comprised of natural talent combined with learned skills. These skills include goal-setting, problem solving and sensible decision making2. It’s obvious that these traits are of great benefit to the individuals in any endeavours that they undertake. In other words, there is an overlap between leadership and personal success. Youths who have competent leadership skills show higher career aspirations, increased self-esteem and improve school performance and completion rates3.

Nurturing leadership thus benefits the individual, the community and society as a whole, in a variety of way.

Nurturing leadership traits in the youth

Nascent leadership traits often emerge by themselves, which is what allows educators to identify those individuals. But developing leadership takes more than just a natural aptitude.

Developing leadership traits in the youth is something that involves a multitude of people surrounding the individual – family, teachers, youth workers and the broader community. All of these ideally need to work together to produce healthy, successful adolescents with leadership skills.

One of the more successful methods of developing leadership in youth is the incorporation of service projects into the school curriculum. This allows learners to get a taste of making an active contribution to the community and allows them to see what they have learnt being put into action, along with the results that ensue.

Leadership role models in South Africa

Of course when we look at the role models that have and are having an influence on the youth of South Africa, one name stands head and shoulders above the rest: Nelson Mandela. So much has been written about the many ways in which he has been and is a role model for not only the youth of the country, but the country at large.

However, many more role models are needed in all spheres of society, particularly in the home environment and the surrounding local community. In other words, grass roots leadership is always needed to guide the development of the youth. General violence, violence in families, and violence against women and children are particularly acute problems in South Africa. This illustrates the other side of the coin – the effect of the lack of good role models in the family environment, especially with the number of absent or violent fathers, and the number of child-headed homes that exist in our communities.

If one reads articles about successful South Africans, one finds great diversity in whom the individuals name as their role models. Some were inspired by well-known figures, like Steve Jobs and Adrian Gore of Discovery. Others were inspired by role models more close to home, like their parents. Still others are inspired by ordinary South Africans, while others have mentors specific to their careers.

What emerges from this is that anyone can be a role model. These don’t have to be luminous figures; it can be anyone who displays admirable qualities that others, particularly young people, emulate. The lesson for South Africans is that each of us in our own lives can end up being role models for the youth, which is why it is important to provide the kind of example that is worth following.

Let’s start a conversation. Let me know what you think here or connect with me on Twitter (@EduloanSA)


1. O'Brien & Kohlmeier, 2003
2. MacNeil 2000
3. Bloomberg, Ganey, Alba, Quintero, & Alcantara, 2003

Thursday, 8 October 2015

You have a matric – now what?

Getting a matric with university entrance is one of the primary goals of secondary education. However, not everyone obtains a university entrance, leaving them with a basic matric education. What opportunities are there for these matriculants, and what paths can they follow to create careers for themselves? Let’s have a look at some of the avenues open to these school-leavers.


A job straight away?

One of the first options for matriculants who do not have university entrance is to go straight into the job market. There are several immediate advantages to this. For a start, money starts flowing in quickly, and there is no need to go into debt in order to study further.

Finding a job straight out of school can be a tough undertaking, however. The current employment scenario is not a particularly good one for school-leavers, with a very high unemployment rate in this segment of the population. And where there are jobs available, prospective employers more often than not look for a certain amount of experience, which school-leavers obviously lack.

For these reasons we need to look at other options for matriculants, to improve their employability and make them more attractive and desirable in the job market.


Levelling up

There are many further study options open to matriculants who do not have university entrance. In choosing a tertiary education direction the first step is to decide on a desired vocation. This will determine what type of institute to study at or whether to take a different approach.

Institutions offering diploma courses to matriculants are plentiful in the major centres of South Africa. For instance, for those interested in marketing there is the IMM Graduate School of Marketing, or for those wanting to pursue a digital design career there is the Vega School, and so on. There are also plenty of general purpose colleges offering a wide range of diploma courses for matriculants. Another option is to go into a trade and take courses at a technical institute. These are often linked to real-world work experience programmes, which can lead to employment once the necessary certification is obtained. There are also workplace apprenticeships in which a school-leaver can enrol, which can give the advantage of generating income while learning a trade.


Start something yourself

There is a further option for school-leavers; one that is taking on ever-increasing importance in the context of South Africa as a developing country. With its relatively slow economic growth rate and high unemployment, the South African economy needs as much stimulus as possible. One of the most important drivers of this is entrepreneurship, with its ability to create jobs, generate taxable income and provide growth.

For matriculants with the right mindset, starting a business, however small, is certainly a viable option. One might almost say that in order to meet the country’s entrepreneurship needs, it is also a necessity that a certain number of people start their own businesses, with an eye on growth and sustainability.


Still unsure?

And finally, if you are a recent matriculant who is completely unsure of what direction to take, there is the increasingly popular option of a “gap year”. This will give you the time to take stock and discover what it is that you really want to do. You can take this opportunity to travel, if that is affordable, or else take a part-time job to get some work experience.

Whatever your preference, it’s important to realise that matriculating without a university entrance is by no means something that needs to curtail the opportunities available to you. Let’s start a conversation. Let me know what you think here or connect with me on Twitter (@EduloanSA)

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Is South Africa producing enough scientists?

One of the most pressing questions facing South Africa is whether our educational system is producing enough graduates in the sciences field to fill the country’s needs, particularly, engineers, scientists and researchers. These are of course critical vocations to the country’s infrastructure maintenance and to creating enough future infrastructure to support its needs. They are also critical to research and innovation and to ensure that South Africa can sustain and grow the industries that require scientific professionals.

Running out of scientists

Various analysts have expressed concern over a dual challenge that faces South Africa. In the first place there is the so-called “brain drain” where highly qualified people in the sciences are leaving the country to take up opportunities elsewhere. Much has been discussed about ways to retain these skilled personnel but the fact remains is that due to the rand’s low value relative to the world’s major currencies like the dollar, pound and Euro, South African firms are not able to equally compete with overseas companies that can pay much higher salaries in rand terms.

The second concern was highlighted by science and technology minister, Naledi Pandor. The government has identified a disproportionate number of our scientists are nearing retirement age. More explicitly, over half of South Africa’s existing scientists are due to retire in the next decade. On the face of it, this brings the stark reality that the country needs to produce more scientists to replace the retiring ones.

Over half of the scientific papers produced for scientific journals are now coming from this older demographic – compared to only one in ten a couple of decades ago. This clearly shows that there has been a dramatic slowdown in the number of developing researchers and scientists. It is possible that younger scientists are simply not producing as many papers but the more likely scenario is that there are not enough younger ones.

Skills transfer challenges

Much more worryingly from an educational perspective is that not only will these scientists be lost to the scientific community, they will also be lost to the educational sector. There will be a significant decrease in the number of scientists available to teach and consult in tertiary education institutions. This means that not only is our pool of scientists growing smaller but also our capacity to refill that pool through education and skills and knowledge transfer will suffer as well. The simple fact is that over the past decade the number of postgraduate enrolments in the sciences has not grown fast enough.

The bottom line is that South Africa needs to tackle this multi-faceted problem as soon as possible. It needs to replace the scientists who will be leaving their professions, while simultaneously having enough science educationalists to train the next generation. At the same time it needs to attract more young people to the scientific disciplines, which leads to a further need to engage interested learners in these disciplines when they make their subject choices at school. The school curricula needs to be of a high enough standard to properly prepare our next potential scientists for their university studies.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Education for social entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship is important because it blurs the line between for-profit and non-profit enterprises, simultaneously opening opportunities between the two where both profit and positive social impact are desired outcomes. At the heart of social entrepreneurship lies the notion of using business principles, strategies and actions to have a positive effect on the wider community and society as a whole.

While definitions of the term “social entrepreneur” differ, there’s little doubt that the sentiment behind it springs from broader social concerns that are informing today’s generation. Today’s students want make their own contributions to the burning issues of their generation: the environment, world poverty and healthcare. This is where the wellspring of social entrepreneurship lies.

Taking aim at these issues using the principles of social entrepreneurship helps to create new solutions, not least because social entrepreneurship reframes the issues in a broader context. Social entrepreneurship education helps to refocus the lens and produce individuals who have the type of social entrepreneurship skills that can drive change in business objectives and solve social problems.

Consequently many higher learning institutions have recognised the importance of social entrepreneurship by creating formal courses, often as sub-courses in degrees like MBAs.

Social entrepreneurs as young leaders

Young social entrepreneurs can play a leadership role by infusing traditional business objectives with a social mission. The educational institutions charged with producing these young leaders need to make provision for them to learn the skills they need to reframe issues and create sustainable solutions out in the corporate world. It’s as much an existential issue as it is a practical one. Social entrepreneurship helps to answer some of the bigger questions that students and potential leaders encounter at tertiary institutions: “What is the broader purpose to my studies?”, “Why do I want to learn what I’m studying?” and “What am I going to do with what I have learnt?”. Institutions can help with this, not only by offering formal courses in social entrepreneurship, but by the social entrepreneurial environment that they can create within themselves.

Teaching social entrepreneurship is thus a key part of solving broader social issues. Entrepreneurial leadership types are characterised by drive and determination, the willingness to fail and persevere, and the ability to apply knowledge productively. These are also the characteristics of good leaders. So one can see how creating good leadership as well as social entrepreneurship are mutually reinforcing endeavours.

Social entrepreneurship in developing countries

The developing world is often a rich source of social entrepreneurship, for the simple reason that, in countries where poverty and a lack of infrastructure pose enormous challenges, the focus becomes using innovation, flair and determination to solve very basic social problems. This is an environment in which social entrepreneurship thrives. Most of this social entrepreneurship is focused internally on the countries’ own markets, and on addressing daily social problems.

The knock-on effect is that companies and other organisations from the developed world are able to take up on these social entrepreneurship ideas themselves, and use them in other contexts where they will prove to be of value in addressing similar issues.

Education often follows on, with tertiary institutions taking the lead from these companies and organisations and starting to include new social entrepreneurship ideas in their curricula in one way or another. And it is through this social entrepreneurship education that a new generation of students is given to the skills and tools to make an impact once they have graduated.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Creating an inclusive learning environment

An inclusive learning environment is one where everyone who is present feels included, and is able to actively engage while feeling safe and welcome. Importantly it also recognises and takes into account differences between learners, and values and encourages diversity. This is especially pertinent when the classroom is made up of people from different cultural backgrounds and languages, as is often the case in South Africa.

Impact of classroom climate on learning and performance

The climate in the classroom is a critical factor in the success of learning. It can make a huge difference. A warm, welcoming, safe, inclusive and nurturing space is much more likely to aid learning than a sterile, intimidating, unwelcoming one.

Teaching is a social activity and depends on the interaction between teacher and learner. We need to always bear this in mind, as the teacher’s approach and the climate he or she creates can have a big impact on learning and performance.

Here are some of the more specific ways in which an inclusive classroom climate positively affects learning and performance:

Participation in knowledge sharing
In an inclusive climate learners are more likely to participate in discussions and other interactions, as they feel that their contribution is valued. They are more likely to volunteer knowledge and opinions and to make a contribution, which benefits both the group and the individual. In a non-inclusive climate where not everyone feels equally valued, those who don’t will withdraw from participating.

Emotional reactions
More often than not, an inclusive learning classroom is filled with learners who have enthusiasm for learning and a desire for discovery, who have higher levels of self satisfaction and who take pride in their contributions and achievements. These emotions further reinforce the willingness and enjoyment of learning and contribute to the learner’s success.

Motivation for learning
Learners in an inclusive classroom environment are typically more motivated. This increased motivation is linked to the positive emotional experience mentioned above. By contrast, a non-inclusive classroom environment causes negative experiences like boredom or withdrawal.

Meeting expectations
Learners tend to perform in a way that is related to the expectations that are placed on them by the teacher. A learner who is expected and encouraged to do well will approach the task with more motivation and generally have better results as a consequence. This is also known as the Pygmalion effect, where learners meet the expectations of teachers if they believe that the teacher thinks they are smart and capable. Significantly, the opposite also occurs: when learners perceive that stereotypical negative expectations are being placed on them – for example, that underprivileged children don’t perform well – they tend to under perform, not matter how capable they actually are.

Another important characteristic of an inclusive learning environment is that it allows the teacher to use his or her authority to empower everyone to take ownership of the learning process. This requires recognising and including the perspectives of all the learners in the classroom, so that none of them will feel left out due to their perspectives not being represented, which can cause them to withdraw.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Education and high growth entrepreneurship

High growth entrepreneurship has not been mentioned in education circles for a very long. There are many definitions of the term, but for the purposes of this article we can take Autio’s description which is “strong owner-managerial aspiration for rapid organisational growth coupled with substantive potential for achieving this aspiration”1.

It’s only recently that the key role that high growth entrepreneurship plays has been highlighted. Its importance becomes clear when we look at its effect on economies. We know that employment, wealth creation and economic growth are achieved in economies where there is a thriving entrepreneurial class. Fostering these attributes is perhaps even more necessary in developing countries. High growth entrepreneurship drives faster development of these factors and high growth firms make a disproportionately large contribution to an economy. One of the reasons for this is that the technology opportunities that drive high growth entrepreneurship have expanded so rapidly.

In fact policy makers around the world are starting to understand and believe that high growth entrepreneurship is crucial for all countries, regardless of their levels of development. To the extent that the United Nations Foundation has asked a business and technology figure of the stature of Michael Dell be its Global Advocate for Entrepreneurship in order to “help shape and advance a global entrepreneurship agenda”2.

High growth entrepreneurship is richer territory than merely more companies producing more products and services more quickly. What it yields is entire economies becoming more vibrant, dynamic and entrepreneurial, which can entirely change a nation’s economic emphasis. It’s not all smooth sailing though – high growth entrepreneurship can be disruptive, making it difficult for government and business to fully take it on board3.

The influence of education

Education levels, the richness of the educational environment, the encouraging of entrepreneurial traits in educational institutions, formal educational courses – these have all been identified as having a positive influence on the development of entrepreneurial drive and subsequent entrepreneurial activity and success.

So it follows that the more hospitable the environment for entrepreneurial development and the more education that can be provided, the more high growth entrepreneurs will be produced.

All of the knowledge related to the influence of education on high growth entrepreneurship shows that high growth entrepreneurs have higher levels of education than average. In turn, higher growth firms usually have founders with higher levels of education than lower growth companies4. More pointedly, there is a lot of evidence from studies in at least 20 African countries that examined the effect of schooling on entrepreneurial performance. It all supports the idea that the more highly educated the entrepreneur, the superior the entrepreneurial performance5.

The message is clear: we need to provide as much of the right sort of entrepreneurial education to as a high a level as possible, and place this within reach of as many learners as possible. In this way high growth entrepreneurship will be maximised, thus stimulating the economy, creating wealth and creating employment.

1. Autio, Erkko (2009) : The Finnish paradox: The curious absence of high-
growth entrepreneurship in Finland, ETLA discussion paper, No. 1197

2. Atkinson, Rob (2015) : “High-Growth Entrepreneurship for Development: Report of a Roundtable with Michael Dell”

3. Ibid

4. Audretsch, David B. (2012) : “Determinants of High-Growth Entrepreneurship”, Report prepared for the OECD/DBA International Workshop on High-growth firms: local policies and local determinants, Copenhagen

5. Sleuwaegen, Leo and Goedhuys, Micheline (2009) : “High-growth entrepreneurial firms in Africa: a quantile regression approach”, Small Business Economics