The Ministry of Education is introducing and phasing in an entrepreneurship education program developed by a United Nations agency, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 1997. The program, titled Know About Business (KAB), will be introduced in 10 senior secondary schools, and 3 vocational institutions.
KAB was launched in May last year and will be first taught in the next school year. The program is designed to induct entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviour into students aged between 15 and 25.
Geneva-based Klaus Haftendorn, who is Global Coordinator of Know About Business, spoke to The Sunday Standard at Enterprise Botswana premises, during his recent trip to Gaborone.
“Jobs are in demand worldwide, in developing countries 50 percent of the population are under the age of 25, the labour market cannot absorb them all,” Haftendorn said. “What KAB does is convert jobseekers into job creators.”
The program has been introduced in more than 30 countries at different implementation levels and at different educational sectors such as vocational, secondary schools and higher education. The program was first introduced into Kenya’s national curriculum ten years ago, during the same year it was established. Bachelors and masters degrees in Entrepreneurship were introduced at Jomo Kenyatta University.
Denis Maswabi, Managing Director of Enterprise Botswana (EB), and Regional Key Facilitator of KAB, says as a result, Kenya has become a business hub, many multi-national companies have relocated to Kenya. He cited examples of Standard Chartered and companies launched in Kenya involved with aviation and broadcasting.”
The modular program which has, amongst its developers, Robert Nelson, the professor who introduced Entrepreneurship at Jomo Kenyatta University, equips young people with the necessary requirements, competencies and attitudes to consider entrepreneurship as a career option.
“There has been a longstanding belief that entrepreneurs are born not made,” Haftendorn said. “At KAB we believe that given opportunity, through training, to develop competencies, such as risk taking and opportunity seeking, entrepreneurs can be nurtured.
“We use new methodology in training that includes role playing, group work and brainstorming.” Haftendorn said. “There is no failure rate at the level (2) that we are introducing the program.”
KAB instructors are called facilitators because they do not lecture but facilitate a learning process.
Maswabi, told Sunday Standard that Enterprise Botswana is making the first of crucial teaching steps of building capacity for the introduction of KAB.
“We have trained over 200 teachers all over Botswana, who will facilitate KAB learning at their respective institution.”
He counts the Teacher Training and Development, and Curriculum development departments at the Ministry of Education, for having been the driving force in building capacity for the introduction of KAB.