Lifelong learning strategy 2020-2024 consists of 3 strategic goals focusing on improving the development of entrepreneurial competencies on all levels of formal education, improving the realization of entrepreneurial learning within the framework of informal education, as well as increasing the efficiency of the entrepreneurial learning system, it is said at the roundtable, held on 12.02.2020 at the premises of the Chamber of Commerce.
“Defined strategic goals and proposed measures should improve development of entrepreneurial spirit and competencies on all levels of education with the aim to transform ideas into practical activities and create value for sustainable individual, social and economic prosperity through entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and creativity of individuals. I believe that this strategy is very important in terms of entrepreneurial thought in Montenegro, in general. We should start teaching entrepreneurship from the early age which would positively impact generations to come” says Director General of the Directorate for Investments, Development of SMEs and Management of EU Funds in the Ministry of Economy, Radosav Babić.
The document’s main focus is on the strengthening of the role and importance of the National Partnership for Entrepreneurial Learning and its institutionalization and possible transformation into Council for entrepreneurial learning. The multiannual financial framework is proposed at the level of €908.950, that is €423.000 for this year, and €485.000 for 2021, says Babić.
When talking about methodological approach of the working group, he says that it involved approaching state analysis (in May, 2019) and position paper draft (in June, 2019). He adds that the strategy is not only aligned with the most important strategic national documents, but with the EU strategic documents, as well. During the presentation of the draft document, Babić said that the document was aligned with the key national and EU strategic documents and recommendations that recognize small and medium-sized enterprises, sustainable inclusive development, education, employment and human resources development.
“The draft strategy is based on the results from previous five-year period and priorities for improvement of formal and non-formal education that are to contribute to further development of entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and competencies. Based on the identification of the key obstacles and challenges, the priorities for further development have been formulated”, he says. He adds that more than 30 representatives of the government institutions, business associations, academic community, NGO sector and international institutions in Montenegro were part of this working group. The working group participation was open to all interested parties.
Babić explains that the Ministry of Economy will monitor the implementation of the Strategy and the Action Plan, in cooperation with the National Partnership for Entrepreneurial Learning, followed by the annual reports on the implementation of the action plans by the Ministry of Economy, that are to be submitted to the Government for adoption.
“The role of this body would primarily be reflected in the more effective and efficient implementation of the strategy and action plan, the promotion of the importance of entrepreneurial learning and examples of good practice, as well as its promotion and greater representation in the formal, especially non-formal education system, raising the quality of entrepreneurial learning based on the experience of implemented measures and policies in this area”, he says.
Babić emphasized that the pillars of sustainable economic development were micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, which primarily base their competitiveness on knowledge and innovation. Such orientation, he stresses, must be supported through continuous improvement and acquisition of specific knowledge and skills of potential and existing entrepreneurs and employees, generated within the formal and informal education system at all levels and in accordance with the needs of the labor market.
“In 2019, the number of enterprises increased 10% compared to 2018 and 50% compared to 2011 as a reference year. Last year, we supported over 300 enterprises with the budget as low as €1.6 million”, Babić says.
He says that the number of enterprises grows year by year, with 65 enterprises supported in 2017 followed by 103 in 2018. The director of the Education and Evaluation Sector of the Chamber of Commerce, Mladen Perazić, points out that Montenegro has clear goals towards more comprehensive application of entrepreneurial learning within education system, primarily in terms of motivating individuals to be more entrepreneurial, innovative and adaptable to contemporary business environment through development of entrepreneurial skills necessary for contemporary job posts. He says that implementation of entrepreneurial learning at all levels of education and training (formal, non-formal and informal types) contributes to entrepreneurial thinking and development.”In this sense, the strategy aims at identifying the ways to manage and develop educational institutions, modernizing teaching profession and learning process through promotion of entrepreneurship within each component of the learning system, whenever possible. Therefore, the process of entrepreneurial learning should be continual improvement process, implemented from primary to university level of education”, Perazić says. He adds that entrepreneurial skills should be acquired, practiced and used on everyday basis. In order to realize its potential, throughout the economic transition process and accession talks with the EU, the government should create equal opportunities by the means of education system that would, in the end, recognize entrepreneurship as one of the main pillars of Montenegrin economy. Entrepreneurship, or ownership of business, has become not only acceptable, but preferred career choice for people of any age. Successful implementation of entrepreneurial learning can be achieved only in the case of participation of all actors in social and business life of Montenegro”, Perazić says. He emphasizes that multisectoral approach to entrepreneurial interaction requires integral approach of economic, social and cultural policies for creation of specific purpose programs that would increase efficiency of the same and serve the economy. During the entrepreneurship process in Montenegro, the national partnership for entrepreneurial learning has played a key role in the support of entrepreneurial promotion for economic development”, emphasizes Perazić.
An outside strategy development consultant, Igor Brkanović, says that this topic is not new to Montenegro, which has begun to change paradigm for economic development ever since 2008, through contemporary knowledge and entrepreneurial learning. Brkanović says that incorporation of entrepreneurship classes into primary and secondary education has already given great results. “In regard to higher education, it is obvious that the focus should be on programs outside the Faculty of Economics, which is to say on other faculties that encourage entrepreneurial learning development. When it comes to non-formal education, there were ad hoc initiatives, but there was no systematic approach to training analysis of both the employees and managers in small and medium-sized enterprises”, Brkanović says.
He says that people working in this field have fantastic communication and that their professional competencies and enthusiasm has been the base for entrepreneurial learning development, as opposed to the implementation of the systematic approach to entrepreneurial learning that would give better results in the long run.
“Therefore, it is essential to form a national partnership, not as the result of ad hoc initiative, but as a consequence of legal framework improvement and its implementation”, explains Brkanović. He states that the project would result in bringing up the entrepreneurial generation of strong individuals and successful enterprises that would lead to competitive and sustainable knowledge-based economy.
The head of the Department of Adult Education and Lifelong Learning, Ljiljana Garić, said at the Centre for Vocational Education that the Adult Education Strategy 2015-2025 was not mentioned anywhere.
“That’s one very good and important document and if we are talking about lifelong learning, we should not neglect it. We, also, have an adult education plan for the period 2019-2022. We make annual plans and strive to take cross-sectoral approach to involving as many people as possible, although we do have a problem with people who do not understand the importance of collecting data on number of people involved in lifelong learning”, Garić says. She added that she was satisfied with the number of people participating in lifelong learning within the framework of formal education, but that there was much more to do considering the number of people with lifelong non-formal education and those who never studied entrepreneurship within formal education system. She concluded that, at that time, we had only one basic entrepreneurial learning program for adults.
The public debate on Draft Strategy for Lifelong Learning 2020-2024 runs through Saturday.