Making entrepreneurship a real option for young people in the Pacific

The ILO promotes the importance of entrepreneurship education as part of a lifelong learning strategy, that can contribute to increasing the employability of young people by building an entrepreneurial mind-set, positive attitudes, self-confidence, knowledge and skills needed to enter self-employment and be active and productive citizens.

News | 26 June 2013
The ILO’s entrepreneurship education programme Know About Business (KAB) developed in 1987, targets secondary schools and TVET institution and responds to the needs of developing countries that intend to introduce entrepreneurship education at an early age. KAB is a nine module comprehensive programme of the ILO and an interactive learning methodology that has been implemented and adapted in over 50 countries around the world.

KAB in Fiji

In May 2013, the author of KAB, Professor Robert Nelson facilitated the first KAB Training of Trainers in Fiji, through the ILO’s Tackling Child Labour through Education (TACKLE) project. The two weeks training targeted 35 participants who are vocational school teachers in Fiji and NGO representatives working in communities. The objective of the training was to introduce KAB in TVET schools in Fiji with the aim to create an enterprise culture in Fiji that promotes awareness among young people of the opportunities and challenges of entrepreneurship and self-employment, and of their role in shaping their future and that of their country's economic and social development.

There are a large number of students dropping out early from school. Each year over 17,000 new entrants join the labour market in Fiji. Of this number approximately 10,000 are mainly secondary school leavers. The prospects of these young school leavers obtaining paid employment in the formal economic sector is limited and appears to be decreasing. According to the Fiji Roadmap for Democracy and Sustainable Scio-Economic Development
(RDSSED) 2009-2014, access to quality education for all will remain a priority for Fiji, and improved quality of teaching supplemented by progressive and responsive curriculum will ensure the achievement of an educated and skilled workforce.

In 2011, the Ministry of Education, with the support of the TACKLE project and ILO Office, sent a representative the KAB training course at the ITC. A paper on KAB was then presented to the Minister of Education at a Ministers meeting on the 16th of January 2012 on Mainstreaming of Vocational courses in secondary schools. KAB was approved to be offered in schools and a proposal sent to the ILO requesting approval and assistance for implementation. In the first phase (2013-14) the KAB training is envisaged to target 2,000 young people in 20 schools in Fiji.

KAB in Papua New Guinea

KAB was first introduced to the pacific in Papua New Guinea in 2007 after two local trainers from Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) underwent a KAB Training of Trainers at the ILO International Training Center in Turin, Italy. It was first tested by SBDC in 2008 and piloted by the government as a public investment project in 2009. The funding was renewed and pilot extended to 2010-12. PNG’s Vision 2050 highlights the need for entrepreneurial skills that 50% of students drop out at the end of Grade 8 and 70% of students leave school between grades 9-11. In 2012 the total of students sitting Grade 10 exams was 45,529. Those who passed and so eligible to enter Grade 11 were 16,000 resulting in 64% drop-out rate. Overall, 80% of students who leave school cannot find formal employment. Of the 20% who do, only 4% go on to University. In addition, the SME Stimulus Package to Grow PNG SME Sector announced by the Prime Minister on 22nd November 2012 commits the Government to boosting the numbers of SMEs through a twelve point programme of incentives such as credit guarantees, lower interest loans, and concessions as well as training and mentoring and a revival of the Stret Pasin Businessan urban micro-enterprise scheme.

Under the MOU with DOE, the SBDC has managed the pilot phases of the KAB Project working with two divisions of the DOE: a) the Curriculum Development and Assessment Division (CDAD) Secondary Division of DOE and b) the Technical and Vocational Education Division of DOE. Five pilot provinces were chosen, originally East New Britain, Eastern Highlands, Central, Morobe and National Capital District. Two further Provinces, Sandaun and East Sepik, were added in 2009. Within each province pilot institutions were chosen from secondary schools, high schools, technical high schools, and Technical and Vocational Education and Training Centres. In the schools, Year 9 and 10 Business Studies teachers were chosen for training in KAB.

The Project’s work was in running training courses for these designated KAB teachers in each province and providing the school with the required number of sets of modules for their students. The project staff visited the schools before and after training and also ran refresher courses for the teachers and trained some trainers to provide further in-service training.
In Central Province and NCD, for example, there were eight pilot schools of which seven delivered KAB training. They were supplied collectively 2225 sets of work books. A total of seven teachers working in four of these schools completed their student training successfully and were accredited as KAB trainers. Printing output rose from 500 copies in 2008 to 5,000 copies in 2012.

The project was also successful in developing implementation disciplines to ensure the schools met their obligations as partners in the KAB project:
• Only printing and providing training materials on receipt of student registration forms
• Only awarding of KAB certificates to students on completion of all modules and submission of a viable business plan, and once SBDC has received course exit forms
• Only certifying teachers once they have taken a complete course of students through to student certification (though there have been some variations in practice here).

The project began work towards long-term sustainability of KAB by building the TOT function into an existing teacher training institution: the Don Bosco Technological Institute in Port Moresby. A similar aim has been identified in working with the University of Goroka,

Another sensible initiative of the Project was to produce for KAB teachers a step-by-step teaching programme . Many teachers had had difficulties in introducing KAB into their schools so the KAB project brought together a group of senior teachers from NCD and Central Province to pool their experience and come up with alternative ways of delivering the programme in ways that would complement the Business Studies programme but be separate from it. It was designed for modules 1-5 to be delivered in Term 3 of Grade 9 and modules 6-9 in Term 1 of Grade 10, and would contribute to the marks required for the academic Business Studies subject. The programme was approved by the secondary section of CDAD and endorsed in the Secretary’s Circular No 55/2011 for use in all KAB pilot schools (the circular forms part of the Teaching Program Guide).
Since 2008 approximately 29,000 students have received KAB training and many students have successfully managed micro-enterprises and school enterprises.  It is clear that this programme can be of immense use to the 80% of young people who drop out of the education system, and return to their villages unskilled.
A total of 67 Secondary or High Schools have been involved since 2008 in pilot provinces. 184 school teachers have been trained to date, and 109 teachers certified. 16 TVET teachers have been trained since 2011 of which 2 have been certified. In the tertiary area, a total of 137 trainee teachers and 2 graduate teachers have been trained in KAB 2010-2012. In 2012 across the whole project 8,731 secondary school students were trained and 61 TVET students were trained and certified. 20,060 modules were printed and distributed.

An external review conducted in April 2013 highlighted that because of the different nature of KAB as a non-examinable non-academic subject it needs to be phased carefully into the school system nationwide with awareness of local cultural and economic differences, and possible institutional resistance. In addition, it states that the solution is to make KAB a compulsory core subject with separate certification. The PNG KAB programme has proved its worth in the pilot stages and now deserves to be fully integrated into the Schools and TVET system as a stand-alone skills-based core subject.

KAB in Kiribati

Three participants from Kiribati attended a two week KAB training of trainers in conducted by the ILO in May 2013 and partially supported by the AusAID funded project in Kiribati titled TVET Sector Strengthening Project (TVETSSP). The Kiribati Development Plan (2012-15), under Economic Growth & Poverty Reduction, recognises the importance of creating employment/business schemes for youths including enhancing TVET to archive Australian Standards.

More than 60% of the population are young people and out of the 3,000 young people leaving the school system, only 500 are able to secure employment or higher education. The youth bulge, slow economic growth, limited expansion of the private sector and adverse effects of climate change places huge pressure on government to generate adequate employment opportunities for youths.

With limited waged employment, ILO in collaboration with the TVETSSP aims to introduce KAB at the Kiribati Institute of Technology (KIT) with the objective to ensure that its graduates are also able to gain self-employment. The three participants from Kiribati attending this training have been carefully identified to assist in the development, testing and mainstreaming of KAB in the Institutes’ curriculum. The KAB training will be offered in parallel to the technical courses at the Kiribati Institute of Technology (KIT) which are now recognised under Australian Qualifications Training Framework. The internationally recognised KAB training will add value to the recognised technical courses at the KIT and contribute to realising the Kiribati policy of migrating with dignity.