QAA Guidance

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Lead: Andy Penaluna, Chair, QAA Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Review, Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
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In short

Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education: Guidance for UK Higher Education Providers updated reflecting EntreComp

Update of 2012 guidance

Following five years of national discussions, the UK enterprise and entrepreneurship higher education (HE) community set out five goals in their 2010 “International Entrepreneurship Educators Conference” Concordat. The third of these goals called for “improved guidance on issues of quality and assessment”. In 2012, after consultation with 72 UK universities, the UK’s body for safeguarding standards and driving improvements in UK higher education, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), published their first interdisciplinary guidance, stating that entrepreneurship education is for all university subjects. This was used to help map initial versions of EntreComp. Concrete outcomes in the 2012 version include consensus on definitional stances, teaching and learning strategies, and a pipeline for learning development. Following a year of reviews and discussions, in January 2018 an updated version was published. This encompasses EntreComp, offers new dimensions, reinforces the definitional stances, aligns the work to other international initiatives and actively supports the development of quality-enhanced approaches in all UK higher education provision, including that of UK universities working in overseas environments.

Objectives of the guidance document

The guidance aims to:

  • Promote enterprise and entrepreneurship in all subjects and topics within UK HE provision
  • Guide educators, managers and policy makers
  • Clarify helpful distinctions between employability, enterprise and entrepreneurship
  • Offer national quality-enhanced approaches to delivery, assessment and evaluation of impact
  • Illustrate a learning journey, from awareness to capability and mindset, and, ultimately, towards entrepreneurial effectiveness
  • Illustrate opportunities for both in curricular and extra-curricular and co-curricular provision
  • Illustrate quality-enhanced approaches to leadership, management and the development of supportive institutions

How EntreComp influenced the guidance

Initially, the development of the 2012 guidance document informed the development of EntreComp. However, EntreComp has extended and enhanced the 2012 version and helped to frame subsequent developments –it is therefore natural that EntreComp, with its new insights, informed the new 2018 version. EntreComp’s close alignment to QAA perspectives and metrics has enabled the developers to promote the idea that entrepreneurial competences can be learned, highlight the fact that overly simple metrics such as start-up figures miss many opportunities to celebrate success, and provides a clear framework that helps educators to cover the full gamut of competences.

Andy Penaluna says: “Our year-long review of the more than five-year-old 2012 guidance indicates that a significant range of subjects and courses now include entrepreneurial learning, and that it is no longer considered to be just the domain of the business school in the UK. EntreComp enhances this multi-disciplinary approach and given that the QAA Guidance has been employed in research and practice worldwide, for example Chinese and Thai Further Education, the evidence suggests that the work is extremely adaptable.”

Next steps

QAA has worked with an extensive range of national stakeholders and international leaders in education. Through partnerships with these bodies, the agency is planning a series of case studies that illustrate the guidance in use, offers insights into metrics, clarifies impact and generally promotes entrepreneurial education in the UK university sector, which includes overseas provision. As EntreComp features strongly in the guidance, it will further inform development, illustrate opportunities and generally support the promotion of entrepreneurial learning. The Mandarin version of QAA Guidance was launched at the same time as the English version, and this also includes the EntreComp framework. Immediate steps include collaborative work with universities in China.