According to the general definition Business Education involves teaching students the fundamentals, theories and processes of business, as an educational field, it occurs at several levels, including secondary, higher and university education.
Approximately 38% of students enroll in one or more business courses during their high school tenure around the world but unfortunately, not every country is familiar with this tendency, for instance, Business Education is taught at secondary level in Austria, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, etc. in Georgia and in most of other countries Business as an academic study can be learnt mostly at the university level.
In Georgia including business education in school studies started in 2015 when conversation was going on inserting business skills as a subject for elementary school children, project was funded by the USAID in collaboration with The Ministry of Science and Education of Georgia and Junior Achieving Georgia, at the first stage this reform was planned to be introduced in twenty-seven schools, teachers of which were specially trained for this novelty.
This program offered unique educational experience for students as a result of which they would better understand and perceive business world, which they are expected to have right after finishing school. Business Skills classes at the primary (I-IV) classes were conducted by tutors and volunteers invited from the private sector, which themselves leaded the program for V-VI classes.
Business lessons included fun games and activities, where volunteers shared the basic concepts of economics and finances, helping children to solve their problems in creative ways and consolidating useful life skills too but time after time speech about the business education hushed up and today most of the schools don’t have this field included in school agenda but even these activities only couldn’t help changing whole picture of Georgian school education, as long as country’s rural schools still face big problems connected with money, transportation, etc. and situation is getting even worse in mountainous regions where schools usually have problem with hiring competent executives of some subjects, thus, before intense implementation of Business field whilst school learning, the government will have to manage preparatory actions connected to school life in general too.
In 2016, Georgia has opened its first Tech Park, providing the capital, Tbilisi, with a dedicated site for the development of innovations and technologies, which already became space for unique business possibilities and the most important, it strongly encourages young people, even schoolchildren of last classes to enter in useful business trainings for free, share the knowledge of already successful entrepreneurs and even more, initiate own startups which have great opportunity of reaching local or foreign business sector representatives and fortunately, more and more young people are involved in these processes.
Business education is quite popular among Georgian school-leavers, but has it real prospects or not is still in need of proving, let’s look at the statistics, according to National Assessment and Examination Center in 2016 the highest number of applicants were driven into Ilia State University Business Administration faculty but if we draw parallels, according to the research conducted by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, in the same year about 46 % of young people under the age of 14-29 were unemployed and it’s also noteworthy that only 31% of young people were employed by their first profession, in which Business is firmly included. Reasons of unfortunate statistics can be many, but mostly that students usually take only theoretical education of Business, whilst, the best way of learning this field is to practically arrange theoretical part, as it is done in many foreign universities.
Business Education usually combines elements of accountancy, finance, marketing, organizational studies, human resource management and economics, thus, informing people with this knowledge from school age will help them to acquire useful skills for future career and most important, prepare them psychologically for the time when they’ll have to face far more important obstacles of life which will begin to surface right after achieving school degree, thus, for Georgia, which has great resources for businesses, having lack of people knowing how to manage and gather together all these resources strongly affects economic development of the country.
Maybe that’s the reason why most of business organizations in the area are run by foreign entrepreneurs as long as there is a lack of local cultural background of teaching how to do business from childhood and general educational system isn’t ready to prepare competitive young entrepreneurs acquired with strong practical business skills and only few exceptions are willing to make their own contribution in the field.
Author: Tamar Devdariani © BUSINESS GEORGIA