The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) has recently started a national project (carried out in Finnish) on evaluating entrepreneurship and innovation activities in HEIs and the VET sector. The evaluation, which especially seeks to learn about the contributing factors and obstacles of entrepreneurial operating culture, consists of gathering information from existing sources and collecting new information through several data gathering rounds including self-evaluation surveys for education providers, surveys of the entrepreneurs’ experiences with cooperating with HEIs, student/alumni surveys and interviews, and regional case-workshops aiming and building bridges between different actors and sectors.
As students are exposed to and take part in several activities during their studies that are meant to support their entrepreneurial path, another dimension to be explored by the project is the students’ self-evaluation concerning the development of their competences related to entrepreneurship and innovation. Among higher education students, FINEEC is especially interested in learning more about Entrepreneurship Societies – the entrepreneurial learning that happens alongside formal study programmes (ie. extra-curricular activities). The connection between Entrepreneurial Societies and HEIs varies considerably, and FINEEC is tracking the good practices and challenges. At the individual level, FINEEC is interested in the views and experiences of the students when taking their entrepreneurial paths and what education providers and education system developers could do to improve. The focus is therefore wide – entrepreneurship is viewed as not just a subject, but a mind-set, a way of operating that could lead to starting a business.
The thematic evaluation, the project plan for which is currently being finalised, will be carried out in three phases and will conclude by the end of 2018. Summaries in English will be produced throughout the project. The website will be launched in early June 2017.