Entrepreneurship Education in Georgian VET System

Entrepreneurship Education in Georgian VET System

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Supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria, and working in partnership with the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), this project aims at strengthening entrepreneurship education in Georgian Vocational Education and Training (VET) institutions. In order to do so, the study considers European best practices in teaching entrepreneurship and analyzes the current situation of entrepreneurship education in Georgian VET colleges and universities. Based on the analysis, the project suggests ways in which Georgian VET institutions can improve entrepreneurship education, identify talented and interested future entrepreneurs, and create an environment where the students will be able to test their skills and knowledge.
Until recently, VET has not been an appealing option for many Georgians. For example, according to EUVEGE (2016), the participation rate of the cohort aged between 20 and 24, which represents the majority of students enrolled in VET institutions, stands at only 1.19%. Supporting entrepreneurship education in Georgian Vocational Education and Training institutions can improve students’ awareness about entrepreneurship as a possible career path and, thus, potentially increase the attractiveness of VET as an alternative to higher education for all age cohorts. Furthermore, a systematic approach to entrepreneurship education can create opportunities for the self-employability of VET graduates and help develop a culture of entrepreneurship in Georgia.
Vocational Education and Training in Georgia is largely a path pursued by those individuals who have dropped out of school (usually after completing nine grades), and who need to be trained for direct entry into the labor market. Consequently, Georgian VET institutions mainly concentrate on preparing students for employment in specific occupations, not on breeding entrepreneurs. This is especially true for private colleges that cannot afford the tools and machinery necessary for training students in potentially entrepreneurial occupations such as farming and craftsmanship (see Appendix B). Although VET institutions have started to integrate a recently-developed compulsory entrepreneurship module into their curricula, entrepreneurship education is still delivered in a very theoretical and superficial manner, lacking practice-oriented learning outcomes that would better prepare students for starting and operating a business. Moreover, there is no evidence of a systematic approach towards discovering interested and talented future entrepreneurs and placing them in a suitable environment.
Entrepreneurship as a component of Vocational Education and Training programs in Georgia should receive as much interest as it receives in Europe. According to the European Commission, entrepreneurship education in VET should ideally be able to 1) develop personal attributes and skills that will form students’ entrepreneurial mindsets; 2) increase students’ awareness about self-employment as a possible career option; 3) run enterprise projects and activities that will enhance the entrepreneurial skills of the students; and 4) provide specific knowledge about how to start and run a company (see Appendix A).
Some of the programs taught at VET institutions are slightly more relevant for entrepreneurial capacity building. For instance, those students who study agriculture and craftsmanship are more likely to start their own businesses given the availability of land, necessary implements and basic farming skills. However, entrepreneurial skills development can help all VET program graduates find an alternative to their currently chosen profession if they ever decide to switch toward a more entrepreneurship-intensive career path without going back to an educational institution.
In order to analyze the current situation in Georgian Vocational Education and Training institutions and to lay the ground for the introduction of systematic entrepreneurial education within the VET system, we visited a total of 12 VET colleges and universities (nine public and three private) in Tbilisi and seven other such institutions in the regions of Georgia (see Appendix B). We held face-to-face interviews with the directors, entrepreneurship teachers and professional orientation and career planning specialists, and conducted telephone interviews with self-employed graduates of these institutions. In addition, we met with Kakhaber Eradze, the co-author of the entrepreneurship module, and Anthony Tyrell, an Australian VET expert.
The report is structured as follows: in the first section, an analysis of the present situation is provided, followed by recommendations of how to address existing challenges. In the second section, we present a number of key ideas for improving entrepreneurship education, identifying future entrepreneurs and putting them in suitable environments. The appendices of this report contain a review of international best practices and summaries of the interviews conducted.

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