The article entitled Entrepreneurship Education in China was written by authors who are all connected in business schools in China and in the United Kingdom. The article is basically a business education article focused on the relationship between the small and medium entrepreneurship and business education in China. It first discusses and analyze the development and current condition of China’s small business sector.
It traces how the sector developed and grew rapidly after the support and endorsement of the Chinese government. The small business sector greatly contributed to the improvement of the country’s economy that its GDP increased 12 times during the period between 1980 to 2002. In the 1990s, the sector accounted to about 76.6 percent of China’s GDP while new jobs created increased from 1.3 million to 5.2 million (Li et al, 2003, p. 496).
The increase in the number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across China, according to the authors, was due to the changing political and socio-economic conditions in the country. For instance, high-tech small firms have become the fastest growing SMEs. Aside from that, the political and legal uncertainties served as the barriers to the success of some private-owned SMEs. To address this issue, the government conducted some policy changes and political reforms to support the further growth and success of SMEs.
Part of these changes was the educational reforms that has led to the development of management education in higher education in universities. The development of management and other business education in Chinese universities was also due to the recognition that there is a need for better management of firms both in SMEs and large companies to be able to improve the performance of business firms as they are important for the Chinese economy.
As part of the discussion of business education in China, the article analyzed the business education programs among the top business schools through a survey. From the survey, it was found out that most business schools prioritize human resource management, strategic management, organizational behavior, marketing, commercial English, managerial economics, financial management, and accounting as part of their core modules. They also offer selective modules which include management communication, e-commerce, corporate governance and many others while some universities also offer venturing programs.
In the case study about the Nankai International Business School, the focused was on the MBA programs offered by the university. The case study includes a survey conducted among the graduates of the Nankai University, the survey found out that before taking MBA degree, graduates usually become employed or preferred to be employed at state-owned enterprises, government agencies, public organizations and foreign invested companies. However, after taking MBA degree.
More graduates become employed in private companies, and shareholding companies, reflecting that after taking MBA, graduates have become more aware of the SMEs although more of them still prefer working on state-owned enterprises and foreign invested companies. These findings are also similar to the findings on surveys conducted among the other universities such as the Shanghai Jiaotong University and Fudan University.
However before the formulation of the above mentioned curriculum, vocational training and entrepreneurship programs were the first entrepreneurship education in China which were given to rural enterprises. Rural enterprise training centers and colleges were created to support such programs. Entrepreneurship education at universities only in the 1990s. For instance in 1998, the Tsinghua University launched the Student Business Plan competition, a competition that brings out the creativeness and ideas of students in terms of business plan preparation.
The university also created a research center a graduate venture park in its industrial park. The Graduate Venture Park is for students who would like to take advantage of the start-up supports provided by the university. Aside from the Tsinghua University, there are also other universities that have adopted the business plan competition and other programs and tools. The Ministry of Education supported entrepreneurship education by launching a pilot scheme in selected universities.
The scheme is based on three models: a personal quality development approach; a business venturing skills development approach; and an awareness raising and skills development approach. Universities selected by the Ministry of education implement these approaches with their entrepreneurship education programs. However, despite of the importance and benefits gained from such programs, entrepreneurship education is still generally not included in the education curriculum of China but remains to be a separate program.
The last part of the article discusses the five critical issues that are needed to be considered in pursuing and developing entrepreneurship education in China. These five issues are: (1) the renewal of ineffective state-owned enterprise sector as entrepreneurship education plays a significant role in the improvement of state-owned enterprises; (2) self employment because when more individuals gained entrepreneurship education, more individuals are likely to establish their own businesses which will lessen unemployment rate in the country; (3) the quality of SMEs and job creation – it is not enough to have more SMEs but the quality, competitiveness and performance of SMEs are more important which can be further achieve through entrepreneurship education;
(4) changes in the graduate employment market which is basically characterized by the quality of graduates and their abilities to choose the firms to work for; and (5) technological entrepreneurship – this is important to be considered to be able for technology education be integrated in entrepreneurship education especially today that technology plays a vital role in the success of businesses. The authors concluded that entrepreneurship education should be integrated in a coherent vocational education and training that can address the needs of the Chinese economy.
Evaluation of the Article
The article can be best analyzed by identifying its strengths and weaknesses. One of the strong points of the article is its being highly organized. It uses headings and subheadings which are very effective in understanding the content of the article. It also has strong and interesting introduction in which the coverage of the article are stated. The introduction very well justified the importance of the study.
Another strong points of the article is the review of the small business sector of China which clearly shows the relevance of the sector to the entrepreneurship education in the country. The descriptions of past findings like how the small business sector contributed to China’s economy as well as how SMEs started in China effectively shows how important entrepreneurship education is.
The article also uses quantitative data which were obtained from surveys. These data are very effective in showing the current situation of entrepreneurship education in China and its effect on the employment of university graduates. The use of surveys reflects that the paper is not merely based on past research studies but is an updated research that reflects the current condition of entrepreneurship education. The use of tables also makes comparison of data more effective.
Another strength of the article is its use of reliable and relevant references. It uses related research studies from reputable business journals such as the Stanford Journal of East Asian Affairs, Education + Training, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, and Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development. It also used books as well as papers from business conferences related to entrepreneurship in China. The use of these references makes the article reliable and comprehensive and is a good source of information for both students and educators as well as to business owners in China.
On the other hand, the article failed to acknowledge the limitation of the study. It also did not provide suggestion for future research. Other than that, the study is generally very informative and was carried out effectively, with some weaknesses that did not affect the effectiveness and importance of the research. The discussion is logically ordered, making the study a good a reference for future studies.
The article is important primarily to educational institutions, universities and to the policy-making bodies of China as the article provides information on the important issues to consider for the improvement and development of entrepreneurship education in China. It is suggested therefore to conduct further studies on the current situation of SMEs in China and to identify the specific needs of SMEs in order for these needs to be addressed and be prioritized in entrepreneurship education, trainings and programs.
Li, Jun, Zhang, Yuli and Matlay, Harry (2003) Entrepreneurship Education in China,
Education + Training 45(8/9), pp. 495-505