22 SES 01 C, Academic Work and Professional Development
Contemporary societies are living in uncertainty. Unemployment numbers are increasing, important economic sectors are in decline, we have seen the collapse of thousands of companies, and poverty levels and social inequalities are becoming acute (European Union, 2013). In this context, several governments are taking an active role as promoters of entrepreneurship because they see value in entrepreneurial initiatives for upward the economy through the development in turn of new professional careers (Audretsch and Keilbach, 2004; Perren and Jennings, 2005; Cumming et al., 2009).
The main focus of entrepreneurship is the business context (Schoof, 2006). In Spain, government is introducing some flexibility into existing regulation in order to facilitate the creation of new firms. The Spanish administration has proposed social protection measures for self-employed workers, and actions aimed at promoting, for example, business incubators. It is hoped that these measures will enable careers based on self-employment (Spanish Government, 2013). However, the idea of entrepreneurship cannot be limited to achieving economic benefit or alternatives to salaried employment. There must be a commitment to creating social benefits and social impact along the lines of non-profit organizations (Stryjan, 2006; Martin and Osberg, 2007). It can also encompass creation of social impacts through a project not necessarily in the area of business (Roberts and Woods, 2005). These notions have been described respectively as ‘entrepreneurship’ and ‘social entrepreneurship’(Mair and Martí, 2006; Pfeilstetter, 2011).
In this circumstances, there is some agreement on the potential for education systems to provide training in some of the skills required for entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship (DeTienne and Chandler, 2004; Honig, 2004; European Commission, 2006).
Higher Education institutions that offer entrepreneurship education programs frequently focus on the creation of companies from the perspective of business project development and an emphasis on the economics. Although entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship training can be understood as the development of skills to create and manage new businesses, focusing on business topics per se does not guarantee a training of students in social entrepreneurship (Vázquez et al., 2006). We suggest that there is a need for major changes to curricula and instructional models to reinforce a pedagogical approach that also highlights the social value of entrepreneurialism. Including in entrepreneurship education a stronger social aspect would allow the development of skills, competences and ways of thinking that would promote entrepreneurial activity that focuses on the social as well as the economic benefits (Marina, 2010).
In this paper, we analyze teaching and learning of entrepreneurship in the public universities in Valencia, an autonomous region in east Spain, which accounts for 12 percent of student enrolment in public universities in Spain. We focus on the academic courses offered in 2011–2012 to investigate the extent of the focus on social entrepreneurship. We conduct a critical review of the degree courses in social and legal studies taught in Valencia’s public universities to analyze students’ training in social entrepreneurship. The results of our analysis contribute to discussions on the development of pedagogical models to teach competence in social entrepreneurship, and to the debate on a new conceptualization of social entrepreneurship.
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