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AfricaMoney | January 15, 2015

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Entrepreneurship Education: Microsoft’s pilot project makes a splash in 17 colleges

Entrepreneurship Education: Microsoft’s pilot project makes a splash in 17 colleges

From left to right: Caroline Koa Wing, Citizenship & Partners in Learning Project Manager, Microsoft Indian Ocean and French Pacific, Dr Vasant Bunwaree, Minister of Education and Human Resources and Aneeta Ghoorah, Director, Curriculum Development and Evaluation at Ministry of Education and Human Resources (Image: Company)

About 900 secondary students, counting in their ranks more than a hundred from Rodrigues, have successfully followed an �Entrepreneurship Education’ training, conceived and developed by Mauritius’ Ministry of Education and Human Resources in collaboration with Microsoft of the Indian Ocean islands and French Pacific.

During the official ceremony, which took place at the Mahatma Gandhi Auditorium on November 06, 2014, pupils from Lower VI across 17 public colleges received their certificates, which were handed over by Minister of Education and Human Resources, Vasant Bunwaree.

This programme that was launched in 2013 and started with students of Form 1, was finally thrown open to Lower VI students last year as well, to better help the students explore and enhance their potential.

“In order to support productivity and growth in Mauritius, it is essential to invest in education and training,” said Vasant Bunwaree.

“That is why Mauritius needs creative and innovative entrepreneurs, as well as an adaptable and flexible workforce that is equipped with the necessary skills,” he said.

“To upgrade and enhance these skills, which are indispensable in the 21st century, it is essential for us to make conscious efforts to sharpen entrepreneurial skills and to develop our capacity to think creatively, take initiatives and work as a team,” he added.

“We intend to introduce entrepreneurship as an optional subject in colleges in 2016 for Form IV students,” he highlighted.

Following this line of thought, Microsoft has put at the disposal of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources a customized curriculum titled “Build Your Business”, where the school program has been adapted to the needs of Mauritian students.

The training was created by an America NGO, International Youth Foundation (IYF), in partnership with the University of Stellenbosch, Enablis, and select volunteers.

This program is intended for use of current or future entrepreneurs, with classes based on company management. It comprises 14 modules, covering three key stages: first up is auto-learning, where the participants practice activities by means of a CD-ROM, which implies teaching them basic computing skills; secondly, the theoretical framework; and thirdly, practical, on-the-ground work.

Training has been dispensed to the instructors, who act subsequently as facilitators, to impart upto 15 hours of courses to the students.

Aneeta Ghoorah, Director of Curriculum Development and Evaluation at the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, said that she is satisfied with the performance of the students.

“This pilot project is a real success and we will now extend it to more colleges to continue training the students with the support of Microsoft, as it is very important that our students develop this spirit of entrepreneurship” she said.

For her part, Caroline Koa Wing, who is a Citizenship and Partners in Learning Project Manager at Microsoft Indian Ocean & French Pacific Islands, explained that the courses where adapted for Lower VI students.

“We know that it is not always easy for university graduates to find employment. It is for this reason that Microsoft wants to offer, as soon as possible, the necessary tools for Mauritian students to sharpen entrepreneurial skills,” she noted.

“We are doing this notably through the Build Your Business programme so that students can learn the competencies and the appropriate approach to launch their own business, as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a major role in our economy,” she said.

Finally, she concluded by saying that beyond this objective, this course also aims at converging the academic training and the necessary skills that ensure youth employability. Essentially, the entrepreneurship program seeks to encourage students’ creativity, innovation, initiative, critical thinking, teamwork and communication skills.

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