Does Competence-Oriented Higher Education Lead to Students’ Competitiveness?
Keywords:competitiveness, entrepreneurship, competence-oriented higher education, holistic approach to entrepreneurship
According to the analysis of the stage of economic development of the countries reflected in “The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011” and conducted within the framework of the World Economic Forum, the EU countries have either innovation-driven economies or are in the transition stage from efficiency-driven to innovation-driven economies. Focusing on the educational aspects and human capital for further economic development of EU countries, quality higher education and training, business sophistication and innovation are what should be developed. These three competitiveness aspects are not independent: they tend to reinforce each other, and a weakness in one area often has a negative impact on other areas (World Economic Forum, 2010). Moreover, all of them are tightly related to entrepreneurship and their development concerns the promotion of students’ entrepreneurship in the study process at higher educational institutions.Being recognized as one of the lifelong learning key competences, in the European documents entrepreneurship is defined as a combination of entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and attitude (Commission of the European Communities, 2005). However, the PhD research “The development of students’ enterprise in study process” conducted by Karine Oganisjana under the scientific supervision of Tatjana Koke in the University of Latvia (Oganisjana & Koke, 2008; Oganisjana, 2010 a,b) revealed that the concept of entrepreneurship is broader than just a mechanical combination of entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and attitude. Entrepreneurship is defined as a dynamic system of individual's causally interrelated personality traits, motivation, cognition, needs, emotions, abilities, learning, skills and behaviour, on the basis of which an individual or a group of individuals interact with the context (environment) for identifying, generating and realizing opportunities into new values (Oganisjana, 2010b). Therefore, if higher education (HE) is oriented towards the development of students’ competence only, which is acknowledged as a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes, the development of the other components of entrepreneurship are not taken care of and the creation of new economic values which then makes the key determinant of entrepreneurship not to be in the focus of such HE. The paper presents the main findings of the research and raises a question about the reconsideration of the capacity of competence-oriented higher education for promoting students’ entrepreneurship and as a result for increasing their competitiveness.