UNESCO’s Starting My Own Small Business was published in 2006 to respond to a lack of technical and vocational education materials. The curriculum was designed during a two-day workshop with input from technical and vocational education policymakers from 11 East African countries. Starting My Own Small Business provides supplementary knowledge to young people receiving technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in formal or nonformal settings so that they can acquire an entrepreneurial mindset and the knowledge to set up a small business. The objective is to motivate youth and adults who have not received a formal education and to equip learners with the rudimentary skills and knowledge to engage in some form of self-employment.
The materials used in the curriculum are a 40-page facilitator's guide and accompanying participant's workbook of approximately the same length. Each of these materials is divided into 15 units. For each unit, the student workbook contains short essay-style questions and space for learners to write their answers.
The facilitator’s guide provides information such as the definition of terms and instructions on how to use the provided questions to lead the training.
Starting My Own Small Business Units:
The units provide the information and structure necessary for conducting training in entrepreneurship. The facilitator’s guide also includes a table with the learning objectives for each unit. The participant's workbook contains a checklist (yes or no questions) for students to use in determining what they have learned during the training.
No formal evaluation results available
UNESCO explains that the curriculum makes “no claim to be a complete resource material on starting a small business. Rather, they are programs that outline key topics on entrepreneurship.” An organization could use this curriculum to outline an entrepreneurship training program. Such a program could be strengthened by adding a unit on value chain analysis that is missing from UNESCO’s training.
The strength of Starting My Own Small Business lies in the first two units which help learners identify their own unique skills. Such an activity is important in helping entrepreneurs realize that they have latent skills that are important in the business world. The curriculum is also strong in providing a basic foundation that can be used to guide in the design of future entrepreneurial curricula. Another strength of the curriculum is that it is easily adaptable to a range of locations since it presents business concepts.
Finally, the UNESCO curriculum is strong in terms of determining the learning-based achievements. The objectives of the curriculum are laid out in an easy to understand table found at the end of the facilitator’s guide as well as in a checklist in the student workbook. These two tools can be used to design a monitoring and evaluation system and help learners reflect on what they have learned.
However, the curriculum also presents some important weaknesses to consider. While the introduction to the materials states that facilitators should use participatory techniques, there are no guided activities throughout the curriculum. As such, concepts remain mysterious and difficult to apply for learners. For example, a learner comes to understand what profit is, but he/she never recognizes how it is used in real life. The curriculum therefore requires a very strong and experienced facilitator to bring the curriculum to life by inventing activities (dramatizations, group work, site visits, games, etc.).
Second, presenting complex content is positive, but when no examples are provided it can be frustrating to learners. Some of the units contain words such as “overheads” and “depreciation of equipment” that may be difficult to understand. Other concepts such as calculating labor wages (not customary in many places) is also present in the curriculum. Such complex concepts are introduced very quickly. For example, “profit should be calculated as a percentage of the cost price. The profit margins should always be reasonable.” Moreover, learners often must “digest” complex topics on their own. For example, in one unit learners are asked to consider questions such as “Why do my customers like or dislike my product,” or “where should the product be available?” Such questions can be broken down and made even easier for learners. For example, when learners consider where they should sell they can first identify different types of selling points, then they could identify the advantages and disadvantages of each. The point is that it is difficult for learners to consider the question without a guided discussion that helps to answer a larger question such as “where should I sell my product?”
The topics for each unit were well defined, however I think the activities that accompany each unit could have been a little more creative. Six of the thirteen units only had participants discuss certain topics, rather than explore them through an activity. Lessons should provide students with more hands-on and interactive activities. For example, rather than showing a video of someone going to the bank and going through each step of depositing and withdrawing money, students could actually go to the bank and practice on location. This would be more useful than simply discussing or passively viewing the process.
Download materials here:
The New Youth Entrepreneur: Intermediate from Education Training and Enterprise Center (EDTEC) is designed for use with upper-middle school through high school students and introduces youth to entrepreneurship and business development. It can be offered as part of a school curriculum or as course, seminar or workshop outside of the academic setting. It is written for a domestic audience and has been adapted internationally.
Course materials consist of an Instructor's Guide, two Participant Workbooks, and an optional CD containing all materials. The two Participant Workbooks contain 13 modules, written directly for the student, with instructions for small-group activities and individual work, including self-assessments and problem-solving scenarios. The Instructor's Guide contains suggested answers and background information for all the materials in the Participant Workbooks; sample end-of-module test questions; and supplemental handouts. The Instructor’s Guide also suggests activities designed to foster learner-centered teaching.
The curriculum is presented in 13 modules:
Module 1: Entrepreneur? Who, Me? Yes! You
Module 2: Getting Ready for Entrepreneurship: Opportunities: They are all around you
Module 3: Getting Ready for Entrepreneurship: Business ideas for all communities
Module 4: Big picture: Economics, Pricing, and the Global Marketplace
Module 5: Money to Get Started
Module 6: Where to Do Business
Module 7: How to Sell Your Idea
Module 8: Types of Business Ownership
Module 9: Where to Get Help
Module 10: Records and Books: Did You Make Any Money?
Module 11: The Rules of the Game
Module 12: How to Mind Your Own Business
Module 13: You Can Make It Happen: Yes! You: The Business Plan
No formal evaluation results available
The New Youth Entrepreneur course is an up-to-date, thorough, and relevant entrepreneurship course for youth in the United States. The 13 modules contain a lot of useful and interesting activities and lead young people through exploration and consideration of all facets of starting and running a business. The course could be adapted for other countries, especially for developing countries, but a lot of work would need to be done to make the examples and materials appropriate and relevant.The Participant Workbooks are easy to follow and understand for the most part. There are a lot of photographs, illustrations and quotations used throughout the manuals, and plenty of space is provided for writing answers to questions or notes for activities. The materials assume good reading skills on the part of participants, and some pages are text heavy. Some of the instructions for participants may be confusing, or lacking in sufficient detail. As an example, Module 3 contains about 50 pages of ideas for businesses, with information on equipment, transportation, first steps, marketing, advantages, and risks for each one. The only guidance given to the participant is to try out one business idea, individually or with a group, or to “use them as triggers to spark your own ideas.” There are no instructions for the Instructor regarding these pages, nor are they mentioned in the Instructor's Manual.
The Instructor's Manual is designed in a way that is not familiar to this reviewer. There is very little overall guidance for the instructor, and each module focuses on the answers to questions posed in the participants' workbook, with minimal suggestions on facilitating discussions or setting up activities. There is no big picture overview of the course content and the activities contained in each module, nor are there any references to or guidance about the time it might take to work through a module or to implement the full course of 13 modules. The Instructor’s Manual does not discuss the teaching and learning methodologies that underlie the course, nor does it discuss the role of the Instructor. Because the course is workbook-based, it might be easy for an inexperienced instructor to have students focus on completing the individual activity pages in the workbook, and by-passing the group work or activities that might take place outside the classroom. There is little guidance for instructors on using discussions to reflect on ways to link the workbook topics and activities with personal experience, summarize contributions of students and small groups, and link the completed module with what is coming next. The degree to which the participants take ownership of their own learning; collaborate with others to learn rather than compete with each other; and apply or try out new skills in their daily lives (among other best practices) seems highly dependent on the skills, experience and preference of the instructor. However, there may be a training of instructors’ component to this program that addresses this reviewer’s concerns.
The strength of EDTEC’s [Education Training and Enterprise Center] The New Youth Entrepreneur is that it is designed with both the end user and instructor in mind. The end user is a US high school student. The workbook uses case studies and examples so that youth are able to focus their thinking around a particular issue. The curriculum then guides youth to analyze their findings and organize their analysis. In the end, the important aspect is the ability to make decisions. By presenting youth with questions and problem-solving challenges, the curriculum is interesting and youth have the flexibility to make the learning relevant to their own life.
The curriculum is also designed for ease of use for the facilitator. The guide is complete with possible answers, worksheets, supplementary activities, and tests. Also, the instructor does not have to be a business expert in order to conduct the training. By following the activities and preparing in advance instructors have all that they need. The supplementary activities are useful for an instructor in order to be able to tailor the timing of activities.
Another strength of The New Youth Entrepreneur curriculum is the mix of theoretical concepts with practical application. For example, when students consider a market the instructor can point them towards the data that the Department of Commerce provides to determine what population is needed to support certain business activities. In addition, the theoretical lesson on supply and demand is coupled with an exercise that has students look up the historic prices for gas. These activities are useful because they provide learners with the ability to obtain real information and to analyze and understand that information through the theoretical lens provided by the curriculum.
Finally, the curriculum provides a mix of both skills and information. The information such as the types of businesses is useful for a US audience because the stability of the economy predicts that the information is not likely to need very much updating. When this information is paired with a skill such as how to think about the advantages and disadvantages of each type of business, the learner is able to make strategic and well-informed decisions.
While the EDTEC curriculum has plenty of strengths it also has weaknesses. One of the weaknesses is the reliance on in-class activities. Case studies, quizzes, worksheets, and reading and writing activities are the mainstays. There is less reliance on interactive activities such as role plays or learning games. Such activities motivate learners to continue through the training program as well as provide ripe material to debrief learners about the experience and draw out learning. A second weakness is that adapting the EDTEC curriculum would require significant effort as the material is based on US teaching style (assumed US classroom or out of school program) and examples.
WIN Career Readiness Courseware is an online system that provides basic workplace skills training in either a self-paced or staff-assisted manner. Developed in the United States, WIN Career Readiness is based on the ACT, Inc., WorkKeys® assessment system for youth and adults in high school and post-secondary schools, adult education programs, or workforce development and basic skills training programs. WIN Career Readiness is also in alignment with widely used basic skills assessments used by community colleges, armed services and other organizations and institutions in the United States and internationally.
WIN Career Readiness offers 41 competency-based courses with over 120 hours of skills remediation per skill, totaling 1,200 hours of curriculum in 10 core modules or topic areas, each with five to seven levels of study. Each level includes interactive exercises and a post-assessment, which must be passed to progress to the next level. The modules include Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, Locating Information, Applied Technology, Writing, Listening, Observation, Teamwork, Business Writing, and Work Habits ("soft skills"). Learners may choose which skill area(s) to pursue. WIN Career Readiness includes administrative and reporting tools for teachers and learners.WIN Career Readiness Courseware Modules:
ACT reviews the courseware annually for alignment with their WorkKeys Assessments. The last review was conducted in May 2009 and verified that the WIN Courseware is satisfactorily aligned with the ACT WorkKeys Assessment. Detailed results are available upon request.
An independent study of the Florida Ready to Work program (which is powered by the WIN Courseware) conducted in October 2009 found that the WIN Courseware is 98 percent aligned with WorkKeys. Additionally, the study found that job seekers who used the WIN Courseware and earned a Florida Ready to Work Credential had a 10 percent wage advantage over non-credential holders.
The WIN Career Readiness online course is an appropriate choice for programs that have adequate internet access and multiple computer work stations and are working with youth who plan to work in private sector enterprises structured along U.S. or developed country workplace models. One of its strengths is the leveled approach to developing content knowledge and strengthening skills. While there is not an online summary available to either the instructor/manager or the learner, there may be "background" material available off-line to the instructor or manager that details the specific competencies covered in each module, as the course materials are designed to meet specific U.S. standards-based and competency-based assessment systems.
Course materials are up to date, and the content is thorough and consistent with best practices for the content of employability/work readiness courses, with its inclusion of observation and locating information skills, as well as the option of applied technology for learners who might be going into further study in this area. However, some materials may not be familiar to youth in developing countries, and the reading level may be a barrier to some youth.
Course content is prescribed and pre-set, and instruction is delivered to the learner, in much the same way a teacher would deliver a lecture, with some activities included. The only choice open to the learner is which module to work on. Learners have the opportunity to demonstrate what they already know, as they answer questions for each level. However, they can only respond to the questions asked; they do not have the opportunity to draw on other experiences or skills and knowledge that they may have. Clearly learners will gain a lot of knowledge, and perhaps self-confidence, from completing each module. How they apply their new skills and knowledge is a big question, as there are few opportunities to try them out in real life. Most course materials are available in downloadable PDF, and it is possible to imagine a course instructor adapting these printed materials to specific country contexts and, along with additional activities, creating a more participatory course for a group of learners working together.
The reading level is quite high across all modules. Level 1 of Reading for Information is not at a beginning literacy level, for example. Assuming that this version of the course has been developed with U.S. high school level students in mind, then the levels may be appropriate. The format is easy to use and inviting, though more illustrations could be used and the type font could be larger. Learners can follow their own progress, and there is an audio feature that could be helpful to students trying to improve English pronunciation skills, or for those who have limited vision.
In addition, there are contextualized modules for a range of industry and business sectors (hospitality, healthcare, architecture,agriculture, automotive, etc.). The materials in this course are sequenced along a developmental continuum of increasing complexity, with clearly identified levels, each of which builds on the previous. Each level contains instructional/background material, a variety of problem-solving or identification exercises in multiple-choice format, and an assessment. The course is self-paced and completing all modules is optional. The length of time the course takes is dependent on the number of modules used and the skill level of the learner.
The courses are very contextualized to work-related reading and writing in North America. For incumbent workers in employment where issues such as reduction in force or teamwork are familiar to their work experience, this reading would probably not be difficult, but many of the items, because they are contextualized to modern industrial countries, may seem out of context for poor or developing countries. Note that Level 1 in this system is not at a basic literacy level.
The instruction includes initial testing, in some lessons a brief tutorial in print or through video, then multiple choice drill and practice. In the lessons I reviewed I did not see many tutorials, demonstrations, or simulations. In the Level 1 Reading there was vocabulary development but I didn’t see reading for understanding. Students can easily see their progress scores by clicking the "progress" button.
International Youth Foundation's (IYF's) Passport to Success Life Skills is a complete work readiness and service learning curriculum targeted specifically for youth who are entering the workforce. The goals of Passport to Success are to strengthen personal competencies, such as communication, self-confidence, decision-making, and goal-setting; learn about critical health issues that affect learners in their country; develop skills for successful employment, such as effective work habits, teamwork and cooperation, and financial literacy; and engage in planning and implementing projects.
Passport to Success was launched in 2004 in India and Mexico. The curriculum was originally intended to help at-risk youth stay in school and successfully transition to the workplace. It has been used in vocational training institutes in India with former child laborers and street children, with out-of-school youth and gang members in Mexico, in formal school systems in Poland and Hungary, in teacher training colleges, and by nongovernmental organizations. The expanded program has been used with 27,000 youth in India and Mexico. It has also been used in Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, and Tanzania.
Passport to Success offers six units with 60 life skills lessons, including 10 lessons on service learning, community service, and project-based learning. Passport to Success also includes a Leader's Guide with program goals; a description of life skills and service learning; a list of all the lessons in the six units; how to use the lessons; a list and useful descriptions of some teaching strategies, such as how to use visual aids, how to organize small-group work, and how to lead effective discussions; and how to adapt the curriculum to a range of participants.
Each lesson has two sections. The first section contains information needed for facilitators to teach the lesson including learning objectives, definitions of terms, a lesson preview, a teacher preparation of materials and lesson tasks segment, the prerequisite skills or lessons, and a time estimate. The second section contains instructions for conducting the lesson. The following four elements are found in every lesson:
1) Generating Interest in the Topic: A short introduction to the lesson is presented. The purpose of this section is to stimulate participants’ interest in the topic and connect what they know or have experienced. This could be through a quote, a game, a discussion, a riddle, a brief statement, or similar method.
2) Information to Share: Information, concepts, or skills are presented or demonstrated. This presentation can be made by the leader or through a variety of methods, such as short lectures (5-10 minutes), large- or small-group activities, role plays, demonstrations, and/or discussions.
3) Group Activity/Practice: Participants will practice using the concepts or skills presented in the lesson. Using and/or practicing the new information or skill is essential to mastery of the content. This could be accomplished through a game, a practice situation between pairs or small groups of participants, a role play, a skit, a discussion, or similar method.
4) Personal Application: Participants take what they have learned and practiced and consider how they might use it in their lives. This is usually a silent reflection, small-group or paired discussion, or large-group discussion. This is a critical aspect of the lesson. Without an opportunity to apply what they have learned, participants may not see the relevancy to their lives.
Passport to Success Life Skills Units:1) Personal Competencies: 20 lessons in managing emotions, goal setting, and assertiveness 2) Problem Solving and Managing Conflict: 4 lessons 3) Health Behaviors: 7 lessons in sexual behavior, substance abuse, and gender roles and stereotypes 4) Effective Work Habits: 18 lessons 5) Service-Learning: 10 lessons 6) Closure: 1 lesson
Since 2004, Passport to Success has been evaluated by an external consultant, Tom Leavitt with Brandeis University, to measure improvement in life skills.
Evaluations of the Passport to Success program have shown it to have a significant impact among participating young people in four essential life skills categories: personal development, problem solving, healthy lifestyles, and workplace success, as well as in reducing school drop-out rates and increasing employment, and in helping at-risk youth increase their levels of self-confidence and hope in the future. Some of the result highlights include:
1) To date, more than 45,000 young people have successfully completed the Passport to Success program.
2) Over 1,600 youth educators and teachers worldwide have been trained in experiential/project-based learning to transform their classrooms into more engaging learning environments.
3) 97% of program graduates in Mexico and 86% in India were in school or employed six months after program completion. When measured against comparison groups not in the life skills program in Mexico, drop out rates in schools were reduced by up to 50%.
4) In Poland, as is done in all Passport to Success countries, life skill changes were compared for 12 individual life skills domains. Participants had statistically significant improvements in 9 of the 12 life skills. In contrast, there were no statistically significant changes in any of the 12 life skills for the comparison group (average skill levels actually declined for all 12 life skills).
5) 85% of Polish teachers and 95% of Hungarian teachers have been able to use participatory teaching methods taught in the program in their other classes.
The evaluation has utilized the following monitoring and evaluation tools:
1) Online student pre- and post-tests to measure improvement in life skills (paper tests are acceptable if online tests are not available)
2) Attendance records to measure the number of students completing the life skills course and showing improvements in re-entry to school, staying in school, entering vocational training programs (jobs programs), and securing jobs as compared with youth without access to the Global Education Fund life skills program (longer-term outcomes)
3) Teachers/youth educators lesson assessment forms following each lesson (findings have shown that teachers need to provide immediate and constructive feedback on the curriculum; otherwise, it will not be relevant)
4) Online teacher/youth educator pre- and post- tests to measure improvement in teaching life and employability skills
5) Mastery tests in the form of multiple choice, scenario-based questions given at the outset and the conclusion of the program to test students’ ability to apply lessons learned and deal with challenging circumstances
6) Post-program status surveys and focus groups with alumni approximately six to eight months after program completion to track employment and educational outcomes
7) Use of comparison groups demonstrating similar socio/economic/educational characteristics as the intervention groups' for all survey tests
IYF [International Youth Foundation] retains all of the evaluation results and focus-group interview narratives and can be contacted for further information.
The Passport to Success curriculum is carefully designed to be easily adapted for youth and young adults who need to learn about and prepare for the world of work in a range of learning settings, and in a variety and range of countries. Its two components, work readiness and service-learning, can be used together or separately depending on what is needed. While prescriptive, with specific activities and times for exercises and handouts—a strength where teachers have not had much training and/or experience—it can also easily be adapted by more experienced teachers. Ideally this curriculum would be accompanied by work internships, an apprenticeship or job skills training program, and an introduction to the requirements of specific entry level and more advanced jobs within a particular industry.
On its own, the curriculum offers help with "soft" skills such as active listening, goal setting, problem solving and decision making, assertiveness, study skills, managing conflicts, managing money, and others, but many youth seeking jobs also need other work-related trade, craft or agricultural knowledge and skills. Another area that could be added to this curriculum is a formative and summative learning assessment model. It would be difficult, for example, for a teacher—or learners—to know if a learner has attained the necessary work readiness skills, knowledge and attitudes. The lessons do not include a formal assessment or evaluation of a learning section, and some of the learning objectives are not described in measurable terms; however, in the application section, students are asked to reflect on what they have learned and how they can apply it.
Passport to Success covers a wide spectrum of basic life skills youth need to build in preparation for adult life and work. Skills and knowledge gained from the training are applicable to all aspects of life and can be seen as cornerstones in preparing individuals to become active and effective in all roles they will play in their future. The approach to the training is active and allows space for personal experimentation and reflection.
As designed, in two volumes—for leaders, students and direct beneficiaries—it provides enough guidance and background information. However, more field work and first-hand experience would allow youth to put all the skills gained into actual practice, thereby challenging and confirming the learning. This would also allow students to provide more personal input and express their feelings as they learn.
KeyTrain© Career Ready 101 is a comprehensive, self-paced Internet-based system for developing and improving career readiness skills. The curriculum is specifically designed for work readiness and is used by those preparing for work for the first time and also by incumbent workers, including those in company-sponsored workplace basic skills classes. Career Ready 101 is a component of KeyTrain©, an online computer-assisted program developed for North Americans (high school and adults) who need skills and knowledge to prepare for and pass the ACT, Inc., Work Keys National Career Readiness Certificate assessment that is used by some employers in hiring new employees. The program is also used internationally in Africa and Latin America.
Career Ready 101 includes the KeyTrain© Workplace Skills (Reading for Information, Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, Applied Technology, Business Writing, Teamwork, Observation, Writing, Listening) Career Exploration and Preparation, Financial Literacy, and Career Skills (e.g. Job Search, Communication, Work Ethics, Workplace Effectiveness, Business Etiquette). The system Includes pre- and post-tests to measure learning gains, extensive reporting options, and other tools for administrators and teachers. Different competency levels for students are established, ranging from level 1 through level 7, and users can progressively work up through each level. The units of instruction are self-contained, with Overview, Learning, Practice, and Quiz sections.
The lessons in Career Ready 101 are designed to be assigned by a teacher, tutor, or counselor. Many of the Internet-based courses include complete materials for traditional classroom instruction in teaching situations where Internet access and/or computer availability is limited. The learner can choose to have the text in the lessons read aloud by a human voice, so although the lessons are not necessarily written at a beginning reading level, they may still be useful to low-literacy adults.
Organizations interested in using Career Ready 101 may purchase site licenses and then create their own student/client accounts. Other features include individual and class calendars, a résumé builder, and links to U.S. Department of Labor O*NET interest inventories, the results of which can be used in O*NET career exploration. Computer-assisted instruction and familiarity with the software is required for facilitators.
The KeyTrain© curriculum has been reviewed by ACT, Inc., the creator and publisher of the WorkKeys job skills assessment system and has been determined to meet ACT standards for quality. KeyTrain is listed by ACT as a Level One Publisher of the WorkKeys curriculum. For more information, please see the ACT website: http://www.act.org/workkeys/sktrain/index.html
KeyTrain Career Ready 101 offers a wide range of high quality instructional modules related to developing career readiness skills. The material is most suitable for use either prior to or at the time of specific skill development. The various instructional units are self-paced with students progressing through different content areas and levels of instruction. The flexibility provided is a strength of the material; the material can accommodate differences in interest, background, achievement and career goals. Students also can progress at different rates. The instructional path is easy to follow, the material is clearly presented and the format attractive. There is ample material for teacher use, including a system for tracking student progress. While some technical areas are examined in relation to career readiness skills, such as mechanics and hydraulics, the majority of the instructional material relates to applied math writing skills and work habits and attitudes.
Overall, the presentation is basic and “conventional,” with little innovation and creativity. But it is solid. Students basically complete exercises. Like all IT based instructional material, however, there are challenges to consider. Students need to have appropriate reading and computer skills. There are also hardware requirements that need an up-front and on-going investment. The maintenance of hardware will be a continuing challenge. Economies of scale are required to offset what can be a high unit cost of instruction if the user base is not large. System as well as content obsolescence is a fact that will inevitably arise. Typically the use life of this kind of instructional material is five years.
The courses appear to be well organized. The content I reviewed was accurate (at least, for many North American work situations). The sound feature, that allows you to choose to have the text read out loud, is attractive and potentially useful, although it did not always work for me on a Macintosh computer. If someone's goal is to prepare for the National Career Readiness Certificate these courses would be especially useful.
However, there are several serious drawbacks: 1) the materials are not written for low-literate or limited English adults. 2) They are contextualized materials, a strength for North Americans, but possibly inappropriate for some other countries and cultures. (Note: I only looked at the English, not the Spanish version.) 3) The lesson organization is predictable but relies heavily on multiple choice practice and testing, not unlike many existing print career readiness workbooks. In the courses I reviewed I did not see particularly creative, highly interactive or constructivist uses of the technology. 4) This is relatively expensive for poor or developing countries ($4,500 for a site license). 5) Good (possibly high bandwidth) computer access is required to benefit from this online curriculum.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) Know About Business (KAB) curriculum is designed to be used with students in secondary schools, vocational-technical institutes, and higher education institutions. The overall purpose of the course is to develop entrepreneurial skills in young people and to prepare them to start a business or to work productively in small or medium-size enterprises. The KAB curriculum is an overview of both (a) entrepreneurial attitudes needed to be successful as an individual, in a family, in the community, as an employee and as a business owner, and (b) the skills needed to start a business.
The curriculum is designed to be delivered by trainers or instructors who possess a diploma or higher-level education and who have some technical skills but may have little or no business or enterprise experience. Instructors must attend a Training of Facilitators course organized and conducted by the ILO or an approved institution.
The course starts with a general overview of enterprises and entrepreneurship, takes students through self-assessment and exploration of entrepreneurial traits and skills, and moves into developing business ideas, organizing and starting an enterprise, operating a small business, and developing a business plan. Each module clearly states the overall objectives for the module, and each topic or session within the module has clear objectives for the session. For example, the overall objective for Module 3 (Who Are Entrepreneurs?) is to enable learners to appreciate the personal characteristics needed to be a successful entrepreneur. The first topic in this module is Assessing Entrepreneurial Potential and its objectives are “to enable learners to assess their potential for becoming future entrepreneurs; to enable learners to identify and describe key competencies required in setting up a successful small business.”
Those interested in specific information on starting a business could also consider the Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) project.
The set of curriculum materials includes a Facilitator's Guide, a Learner’s Workbook, and nine curriculum modules. Optional materials, available separately, include a business game and a CD-ROM. The Facilitator's Guide indicates that a new module in development will focus on helping students set up their own group-run enterprise during the course.
Modules 1 through 8 are estimated to take 13-22 hours each. Module 9 is two hours. The full course, excluding a business game, takes about 120 hours. The materials are designed to be delivered sequentially and together, as a complete course. However, the developers suggest the 120 instructional hours could be arranged in a variety of ways: as part of an academic year, integrated into a country's national curriculum, as an intensive standalone course offered during a vacation period, or as an after-school activity.
Know About Business Modules
No formal evaluation results available
Know About Business is designed and intended for use in a formal school setting, from secondary school through higher education. The Facilitator's Guide, Student Workbook, and instructional Modules provide all the materials that are needed to implement a comprehensive course that introduces young people to the world of business and entrepreneurship. The fact that the materials have been translated into over 15 languages makes the curriculum accessible and immediately useful to practitioners in a range of countries. Because the materials are only available to facilitators who complete an [International Labour Organization] ILO-authorized Training of Facilitators, the quality and integrity of the curriculum delivery is not left to chance.
While many of the activities could be adapted for use with youth who may have only a primary school education or one or two years of secondary school, the materials are heavily text-dependent. Practitioners who are interested in using these materials should pay close attention to the academic skill levels of potential youth participants and plan accordingly. Of course, staff of secondary, vocational or technical schools, and higher education institutions will also want to study the materials and make decisions about using the materials that best fit with the needs and schedules of youth participants.
This curriculum does not place an emphasis on market-driven approaches to entrepreneurship. The curriculum would be strengthened by a full module that helps young people learn about the process of investigating and analyzing market opportunities, introduces the concept of value-chains, and guides students in how to make decisions based on market demands.
Those looking for more traditional business development materials will find useful information and activities that help young people think through the nitty-gritty of starting and running a small business.
The ILO Know About Business is a comprehensive entrepreneurship course designed for in-school youth in secondary, vocational and higher-education school settings. The course material is replete with a facilitator's guide, a participant's handbook and nine modules, which cover a wide range of topics that methodically take learners through the process of understanding entrepreneurship as a subject. Salient topics include: what it takes to be enterprising, how to become an entrepreneur, and how to organize and operate an enterprise. The final module outlines the steps to developing a business plan. ILO requires trainers to be certified to deliver this training which helps to ensure that the integrity of the training is kept in tact.
A strength of the curriculum is the holistic overview it provides on the subject of entrepreneurship. It has a greater emphasis on theory than other entrepreneurship programs, which is appropriate for the in-school audience.
Other recommendations to strengthening the training include incorporating essential life-skills topics that develop youth's ability to identify market-driven business opportunities, develop their leadership skills and inculcate entrepreneurial values and traits. Additionally, the How Do I Find a Good Business Idea? (Module 5) could be strengthened to include information on how to assess markets using a value chain approach; and how to manage and mitigate risks as opposed to just learning and understanding the notion of risks.
Academy for Educational Development's (AED's) Passport to Success: Leader's Guide and Student Workbook, also known as the "Career Passport," is designed to help youth systematically capture the skills and knowledge gained in school, at home, or as a volunteer and apply them to the workplace. The curriculum aims to develop creative thinking and critical-analysis abilities, as well as self-esteem among students as participants begin to develop a professional resume that demonstrates their individual skills.
The Student Workbook is made up of worksheets that together form the sections of a professional résumé. The categories include personal information, education and training, work experiences, volunteer and community experiences, family-related activities, hobbies, interests and achievements, skills, strengths and abilities, plans, and references. The workbook is intended for use in a classroom but may also be applied to non-school based youth programs. Rather than providing a particular set of skills, the workbook provides a step-by-step approach for students to gradually develop a professional profile and the tools to self-evaluate their progress and development. The Leader's Guide is part of an umbrella program called Connections: School to Work Transitions Package. The guide provides instructions to facilitators on how to use the Student Workbook and offers suggestions for supplementary activities designed to accommodate the various learning styles of youth.
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The Career Passport does not offer specific "life skills" and/or "employability skills," but is instead focused on tracking the skills gained from education, volunteering, and employment. It is therefore intended to complement other life and employability preparedness programs. It is an essential program that, if integrated by grade ten (at the latest), would allow youth to build a profile that reflects their personal and professional development, and help them to develop the skills to become self evaluators. While the curriculum is clear and straightforward, the Career Passport could benefit from a redesign to make it more visually appealing, or adapted as an online tool. If digitized, it would be even more interesting to youth, since technology is a language they all understand and can relate to.
Given that putting together a resume is fairly straightforward and requires information to be written down, the Career Passport manual offers a systematic way to do that. It doesn't necessarily lend itself to participatory activities. The flow of the manuals makes sense and is essentially in the order one would find information in a resume. While the student manual is comprised mostly of worksheets, the teacher's guide does try to point out what types of things should be discussed in depth for each topic and suggests supplemental activities. The program is primarily geared towards youth in secondary school but it can be adapted to other settings. As long as the youth going through the program understand the need for a resume, they might be willing to go through the worksheets. It could be helpful, perhaps, to bring youth who have gone through the process or used a resume to find a job to come as guest speakers or as assistants/facilitators of the program.
In addition, although the Teacher's Guide lists student-learning objectives at the beginning of each of the main sections, there isn't a measurable way of seeing if the student has achieved these objectives beyond the student filling in the worksheets and completing a career passport (resume) as a final product. Given that the curriculum is comprised mainly of worksheets, I would not say that it fosters critical thinking and creativity. It helps the learners to validate their past experiences and understand that this information can be incorporated into a resume, be useful in job interviews, etc. Finally, while the materials are easy to understand they are not geared towards learners at low literacy levels.
The Market-Based Decision-Making Activity Book for Adolescent Girls is a compilation of activities that introduce market-based concepts to adolescent girls and help them develop skills that will enhance their livelihood opportunities. The curriculum targets adolescent girls in rural settings who are participating in Save the Children-sponsored Junior Farmer Field Schools, village savings and lending groups, or Reflect livelihood literacy circles in Malawi. In general, participants can read basic stories and do simple calculations, but the curriculum is also designed so that learners who do not possess these capabilities can work with those who do. The curriculum design takes into account that girls may already use some of these concepts in their daily lives and emphasizes the importance of fostering these skills for improved livelihoods.
The activity book introduces simple budgeting and the development of market based inquiry skills and decision-making skills based on market demand and competition. It fosters application of learning to day-to-day agricultural livelihoods and introduces financial mechanisms to girls living in rural communities. The activity book includes topics related to identification of people and places for information and guidance on marketing agricultural produce. The activities are designed to help young girls become self-sufficient and develop solutions to problems.
Each session contains approximately four activities. Activities take from 35 minutes to 2 hours to conduct, with the time for completing all 20 activities estimated at around 20 hours. Each topic area is introduced with a brief description of the topics to be covered, and each activity includes a statement of the goals for the session. As the curriculum is designed to complement programs, practitioners should decide how to structure and sequence the activities. They can choose to use the entire program or select activities to support certain objectives. It should be noted that activities within each session build upon one another. Participants explore each topic through discussion, personal reflection, role-playing, problem-solving based on scenarios, art and music, and other active learning methodologies. Participants keep a notebook; there is no separate participant's book.
The 60-page manual contains 20 activities, organized into 6 topic areas:
Save the Children conducted an evaluation of the project for the Nike Foundation. A copy of the evaluation may be requested from Save the Children.
This Activity Book is written for a very specific audience (adolescent Malawian girls) yet is generic enough to be adapted to other country contexts. It is a good model of contextually relevant and culturally appropriate material, using a variety of active learning approaches. The directions for each activity are clearly described in simple language, making it accessible to facilitators or instructors who may not have finished secondary school. The introduction to each Topic Area provides basic background about the topic, why it is important, and what the girls can be expected to learn by participating in the Activities.
The Book seems to assume that participants have a certain level of literacy and numeracy; however, most activities ask for a volunteer to read, write or calculate. The Book could benefit from some guidance on ways to adapt the reading, writing and math activities for use with girls who are still developing these basic skills (other than to suggest ways the Activities can be used in Reflect literacy circles). This reviewer estimates the reading level of scenarios and other participant materials to be at 3rd- to 4th-grade level, and the directions for the facilitator to be at approximately 6th-grade level, using a readability analysis.
In addition, the Book would be strengthened by some general guidance and tips for the facilitator. However, because these materials are companion materials to other programs and not designed as a 'stand-alone' resource, perhaps this supporting information for facilitators is found elsewhere.
The Activity Book would be useful to a program planner who is looking for introductory, easy to understand and implement activities that introduce young people to market based concepts and personal financial planning.
The strength of the Market Based Decision Making Activity Book is that it makes basic entrepreneurship training relevant for everyday life. Girls learn budgeting skills, market based inquiry skills, and about financial mechanisms through every day examples. This means that the curriculum is immediately relevant to girls because the examples of entrepreneurship skills are presented in a fashion that they can relate to. A possible critique is that the skills are too “soft” for business. The curriculum frames budgeting in terms of being able to meet needs and even satisfy wants instead of budgeting in order to re-invest into business ventures. In deciding whether to use this curriculum, practitioners must therefore consider their target audience. If they want a curriculum that is really focused on starting and growing a business, then this curriculum is not for them. However, if a practitioner is looking to augment an existing life skills program with market oriented skills, then Save the Children’s Market Based Decision Making Activity Book provides a useful source.
Another aspect to consider is the curriculum’s assumption that adolescent girls have both access to money as well as some decision making power over that money. This assumption may not hold in reality, as many of the girls who would participate in this type of training will have little control over how their families use their money and enjoy few financial resources of their own.
A weakness of the curriculum is that it is difficult to determine the goal and objective. An experienced practitioner can read through and define the objectives. As such, this curriculum could be strengthened by stating the achievement based learning objectives that each session addresses. Readers should note that the curriculum is very contextualized for Malawi. As such, future use would require local adaptations. While all materials should be locally adapted, it may be difficult for some to differentiate the general learning from the context-specific content, thereby making adaptations difficult. Finally, the curriculum relies heavily on using case studies to draw out learning. Other interactive activities could be mixed in to make the curriculum more dynamic.
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