Sunday July 24, 2011
Teaching kids about business
By AMINUDDIN MOHSIN
NURTURING entrepreneurship among school students is no easy task as there are many ways to be a successful entrepreneur.
British Council through its Connecting Classrooms Programme provided a virtual platform for experts to help young Malaysians grasp entrepreneurship.
Accountancy firm Ernst & Young joined hands with the Education Ministry and the British Council to teach commerce to young Malaysians.
“We would like to help develop an entrepreneurial sense among Malaysians at a young age, that is why we set up this partnership. The programme, ‘Kids in Business’, is a project to develop, implement and evaluate a business plan for a product or a service,” said British Council Malaysia country director, Mandy Johnson.
Principals, students and teachers from 30 schools in Penang, Pahang, Sarawak and Johor
took part in the project. They conducted joint-activities and information sharing sessions.
They increased their understanding of entrepreneurship and awareness of international issues through the guidance of trainers from Ernst & Young.
“It is nice to rope in corporations like Ernst & Young to share their expertise and understanding not only of entrepreneurship, but also of presentation skills and communication skills in the highly competitive global market,” she added.
Ernst & Young Head of Tax Yeo Eng Ping said one of the key indicators of competency is the ability to disseminate knowledge.
“This programme is win-win for both Ernst & Young and the participants, we get to develop the capabilities of our team through teaching.
“When a person teaches, he in turn gets a better grasp of the subject matter he is teaching,” said Yeo.
She added that teaching was not unfamiliar to Ernst & Young employees as they take part in conducting in-house training.
Although fundamentally it was no different, they did have to speak in a language suited to students and teachers instead of co-workers, she added.
The Education Ministry played host to a round table forum with Ernst & Young and the British Council. A workshop for the teachers was also carried out.
Education Ministry Curriculum Development Division director Ibrahim Mohamad said that schools have been teaching commerce for a long time.
“Our schools offer commerce as an option for the Living Skills subject for Forms Four and Five students. But is it always a good thing to have professional help from industry experts like Ernst & Young,” said Ibrahim.
Ibrahim congratulated Ernst & Young and British Council on their partnership, saying it was a job well done to help teachers understand the inner workings of entrepreneurship.
Connecting classrooms is a British Council initiative that spans 70 countries. It connects students from different countries to share culture and knowledge.
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report 2009, not many Malaysians are involved in starting new businesses and would rather work in private and government sectors.
Entrepreneurship is also among the soft skills that the government wants to develop in students to make well rounded individuals.