TES Virtual Guide: Serbia point of view
Andrija Danailov, TES National Coordinator in Serbia
How can the TES Virtual Guide support the focus on entrepreneurship education in your country?
With the national economy in crisis, this country where more than 50% of young people are unemployed, transition and conflicts in our recent history, Serbian youth seek a way out from the current situation by developing entrepreneurial skills and the ability to think critically, in gaining hands-on experience and in connecting with the real business world. Young people recognize the right moment for realization of their ideas and seek opportunities to make positive change in the society. In terms of this change they need a huge support from their teachers/mentors who think alike and an adequate legal framework provided from the government which recognizes priority and boosts youth entrepreneurship. Relevant governmental institutions as Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth and Ministry of Commerce recognize in their strategies the importance of entrepreneurship education in Serbia and support programs offered by Junior Achievement. However, there still lacks a strategy or action plan on the development of entrepreneurship brought to the national level. There remains an absence of awareness of some important stakeholders who could reinforce entrepreneurial education in schools and this would have a positive impact on the entrepreneurial dynamism of Serbian economy. Also, entrepreneurship is not recognized as a key competence in the curricula and teachers don’t have unique tools which they can apply or use in delivering entrepreneurship education. Teachers who think entrepreneurially recognize that the educational system is still conservative and they realize the importance of a paradigm shift in education, in teaching methodology in the first place. That’s where TES guide fits as a powerful, easy to use, all in one place, online platform where all teachers who feel motivated to deliver entrepreneurship education can find new methods, tools and good practice examples which they can apply, or modify, adjust, develop new ones and share with their colleagues around Europe. Our task is to bring the TES guide to as many teachers as possible so they, together with their students, can continue creating change in the society on a larger scale.
Have you had any feedback from teachers about the TES Virtual Guide?
More than 200 teachers in Serbia have already attended the TES training and all of them enjoyed the workshops we organized within the training where they experienced some of the tools. The best feedback we got was from the teachers who did not have any previous experience with Junior Achievement or other entrepreneurship programs. They are very interested to learn a new set of methods and to try something unusual in their classrooms. Teachers who are already in the JA program mainly use methods and tools from the platform which can help in developing entrepreneurial skills of students involved in the Company Program. We also have few teachers who have their own suggestions for new methods which they already tried in the classroom.
What are the next steps regarding the TES Virtual Guide? How do you plan to reach more teachers and more users?
Our plan is to train more primary school teachers because entrepreneurship education is still not present enough and developed there. Also, our primary school teachers have a great interest for new methods and tools which develop student`s creativity. Our plan is to organize more trainings for teachers who attend our events, conferences and competitions.
Aleksandra Stevanovic, Teacher, Serbia
What is your experience with the TES Virtual Guide?
My experience with the TES guide has been great so far, mostly because in one place you can find the most effective methods for working with students. The most popular program/method among students in my school is the student Company Program and in the implementation of it we use a lot of different tools which can be found on TES platform like brainstorming, mind maps, business plan writing, job interview simulation etc. In the past eight years my colleagues and I have been constantly trying to motivate students to think about their life goals, build self-confidence and learn how to solve problems, both in ‘business’ and life, and I think TES guide gives us powerful means and helps us a lot to achieve that cause.
Which tool is the one that you would suggest to colleagues and why?
The program that offers the best opportunity to combine different methods is the student Company Program. As a psychologist, I must say that this program helps students develop their personality, starting from social and communication skills, how to deal with personal and group needs, how to build self-confidence and learn about time and resource planning. Also students get to experience for the first time in a real business surrounding and situations. A mentor/teacher is there only to guide and support them and occasionally remind them to question their ideas, projects and decisions.
What feedback did you receive from students in class about the entrepreneurial tools you are using? Can you share with us an interesting story?
Students really enjoying practicing these methods and some of them totally transformed during the process. Best example is our student Nadja, a girl who started rather shy and insecure, and after a year of Student Company experience she transformed Cinderella-style! Now a smile and eye to eye contact are her basic characteristics, and she stands out as a self-confident and self-achieved young woman.
Is there something you would change or improve in the TES Virtual Guide?
The advantage of TES Guide is a well-structured base and the possibility of using listed methods on a daily basis. My suggestion is to include icebreakers and maybe short workshops dealing with the attention and focusing… Sincerely, during those 8 years of implementing the Student Company Program I noticed that a short attention span may be a problem for young generations.