Members of national Parliaments and of the European Parliament will go back to school to promote entrepreneurship education across Europe.

JA Europe, the largest provider of education programmes for entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy, launched its new campaign, JA Back to School, reconnecting policy-makers with schools in their constituencies to witness entrepreneurship education in action.

Through this initiative, policy-makers will visit JA classes in primary or secondary schools, participate as jury members in JA competitions but also participate in JA Innovation camps and the JA Marketplace until at least June 2017.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of making entrepreneurship education accessible to young people; building entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and attitudes at an early stage to foster European integration, growth and stability.

It was launched in the framework of the EU2020’s objectives of jobs, growth and investment and as a response to the European Parliament resolution of 8 September 2015, which is calling for the education systems to include entrepreneurship as a topic in the national education curricula at all levels and is inviting the European Commission to support and coordinate this process through the ERASMUS+ Programme.

Equipping more than 3.5 million students in 39 countries with the knowledge, skills and attitude they require to start a business or get a job, JA is further calling on businesses and policy-makers to increase investment and support entrepreneurship education.

Indeed, evidence shows that Entrepreneurship Education leads to higher employability, improved entrepreneurial skills and attitudes (creativity, tenacity, initiative) and enhanced intentions to start a business. Also, evidence suggests that a stronger entrepreneurial culture in schools leads to higher engagement of teachers, and intensified engagement of stakeholders.

Young people who have participated in entrepreneurship programmes are 5 times more likely to start their own business than those who have not. They are also less likely to drop out or be unemployed, and more likely to earn higher incomes and be satisfied with their careers.

The European Commission itself says “Entrepreneurship education needs to be boosted as investing in entrepreneurship education is one of the highest return on investment Europe can make”.

“Entrepreneurship education is a priority in only 11 European countries and, despite calls to the contrary, we are seeing ever deepening-budget cuts to education. Europe’s competitiveness and youth employment will therefore only continue to suffer. JA Back to School puts the decision-makers back in touch with the economic potential sitting in our classrooms,” said Caroline Jenner, CEO of JA Europe. “Together, we can do a lot to make Europe more entrepreneurial,” she added.

The first visit of the campaign took place on 8 February in Czech Republic. MEP Martina Dlabajova, Chair of the campaign and one of the 22 MEP Ambassador for entrepreneurship education under the European Entrepreneurship Education NETwork (EE-HUB) will visit a classroom in the Gymnasium Ostrava Hrabůvka.

“I am thrilled and honoured to be chosen as the Chair of such a great initiative with its first kick off in Ostrava. Supporting youth employment as well as promoting active approach and entrepreneurial spirit among young people has been at the forefront of my interest since the beginning of my parliamentary work. We need entrepreneurship education to become integral to the national curricula. Europe’s potential resides in its human creativity and talent and it would be a big sin not to make good use of it. We need to motivate young people and foster their entrepreneurial spirit, no matter what career path they choose. And that’s why I am here today!” said Ms Dlabajova.

JA article 2