Enterprising minds wanted

5th March 2004 at 00:00
Parents probably have the notion that enterprise education is all about work, jobs and loadsamoney. This perception is no doubt what the researchers who produced the paper on winning over parents are keen to change. Their cause will not be helped by arguments from politicians, such as that of Michael Russell on the previous page, that the parental perception is indeed accurate.

Of course, the case for enterprise education may have been damaged by some of its early advocates whose enthusiasm was often couched in the same breath as the needs of the Scottish economy, such as improving business start-ups and encouraging risk-taking. But more enlightened supporters, like the tycoon Tom Hunter in his article for The TES Scotland last December, now refer to enterprise education as a vehicle for giving pupils opportunities and grasping chances - "categorically not about creating a nation of entrepreneurs".

Arguably, enterprise education is education for creativity and ambition; perhaps the nomenclature has become misleading. There are many things that schools can do and this is surely one of them. It is, after all, about creating attitudes of mind rather than creating wealth. It could even be about encouraging the enquiring minds that Michael Russell extols.

There are also many things that schools cannot do, and perhaps we need to ask a more fundamental question: are schools, thirled as they are to rules and obligations and curricula, likely to encourage the risk-takers and creative thinkers that real enterprise requires?

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