Firstly let me congratulate you with your intent to invest in your child’s future. The importance of entrepreneurship and financial literacy education cannot be over-emphasised, as entrepreneurial ventures are the major source of new jobs in the economy – for the business owner and for new employees.
We truly agree with Professor Albert Shapiro from Ohio State University that “Entrepreneurs are not ‘born’….rather they ‘become’ through the experiences of their lives”. Anyone can be an entrepreneur at any time of one’s life, but entrepreneurship is NOT learned by reading a textbook and then taking a test to prove you are one. We need to build confidence and create awareness in children and give them the knowledge, skills, and ability to become entrepreneurs and this can only be done by exposing them to business principles and allowing them to ‘experience’ money.
Having said this, it is important to take note of the following:
- Our school system is inadequate and ill prepares children for the world of work and business and few teachers has the skills, time or resources to implement an extensive value-adding financial literacy or entrepreneurship programme.
- School does not teach basic financial skills. Because it does not teach those skills, many kids leave school without a winning financial formula and the necessary survival skills.
- Our education system in South Africa is in real trouble. In terms of the quality of primary education we are ranked 133rd out of 144 countries. The quality of our education system in general ranks 140th out of 144 countries and to make things even worse, we ranked dead last for the quality of our math and science education.
- The premise that good grades and an after school qualification will ensure job and financial security is no longer valid – the amount of unemployed graduates proves this point.
Given to what extent the world of work has changed and the subsequent breakdown of the educational system, there has never been a more important time to teach life skills such as leadership, entrepreneurship and financial education to our children. Yes, through your child’s involvement with Young Entrepreneurs he or she will gain invaluable business-, life- and financial literacy skills from the experience of starting their own micro-enterprise, and more importantly we will create awareness of entrepreneurship as a very attractive career choice.