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Why schools don't create entrepreneurs

Ninke Janse van Rensburg

13 Jul 2022

And how Sutherland Academy is changing that!

Schools often create followers, not leaders.

We've all experienced the feeling of shame when the teacher yells at you in front of your class, when you've made a mistake. Through punishment, shame, and standardised expectations, our school system forces children to forego their creative spirit and sense of adventure. By teaching children that mistakes = failure, we teach them to not take risks, and not think outside the box.

The reason why schools often batter the individuality out of their students, is because a homogenous (all the same) group of kids is easier to manage.

Entrepreneurship is a mindset

Even though schools offer entrepreneurial and business studies, it is not enough to foster the entrepreneurial spirit. Entrepreneurship is a mindset and a skill that needs to be developed throughout the school as a whole. We need to encourage children to make mistakes, try different things, take risks, and be creative, without fearing the chaos that might come with it.

How Sutherland Academy is solving the problem

The question is: how do you constructively teach a class of children who all want to, and need to, approach the content differently?

The answer: You create an integrated digital system that allows learners to interact with the content in a way that comes naturally to them, be that through videos, pictures, blog posts, a slide show, or reading an article. After they have the theoretical knowledge under their belt you give them multiple options to apply that new knowledge, for example; by creating a podcast, making their own slide show, creating a video in a group, doing a quiz, writing an essay, building a structure, etc.

The question: Now that you have the seemingly chaotic part of the problem sorted, how do you create an entrepreneurial mindset and foster those skills?

The answer: Entrepreneurship is not only taught in one class, but becomes integrated throughout the school. We will teach various vocational subjects that teach not only the practical skills associated with various vocation, but the theoretical knowledge they will need to be successful in the world of work.

Our learners will have more than just lessons, they will cook in our industrial kitchen to feed the students and teachers every day, and create other goodies to be sold at the farmers market, they'll learn how to do electrical wiring and build wooden structures. They will become masters of various skills, while learning about what they are good at and what they like doing.

When children become active in our bakery, farmers market, coffee shop and factory, they'll learn how to be leaders, manage finance, coordinate projects, do marketing, sales, and various roles within businesses.

Our learners will gain experience during school hours that will launch them into the 21st century much more successfully than your traditional school, that sees all subjects as separate and entrepreneurship as unnecessarily risky.

Through smart technology our students learn how to to streamline business and to create new markets. They will be the leaders in the driving seat one day, because they will understand every aspect of business, and the importance of every individual, from the guy who washes dishes, to the CEO, because they will have played every role at school.

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