|dc.description.abstract||This study highlights the urgent need for a youth entrepreneurship development
program of value in South African secondary schools. It examines the entrepreneurial
attitudes of grade 10 learners in 16 secondary schools in the Sedibeng District of the
Gauteng Province, South Africa, using the Attitude Toward Enterprise Test (ATE
Test) developed for young learners in the United Kingdom.
The study is based on the attitude-approach to entrepreneurship research. Al though
there is support for the trait-approach based on an extensive list of common
personality traits that are identified as distinctive to entrepreneurs, wide-ranging
criticism for this approach suggests that the attitude-approach based on the theory of
planned behaviour presents a more appropriate method for entrepreneurship
research on school learners.
The theories and definitions of entrepreneurship are examined to determine 'who'
and 'what' an entrepreneur is, but the study concludes that neither an accurate
theory nor a universally accepted definition of the concept has as yet been
developed. It also concludes that the fundamental requirement for successful
entrepreneurial activity has not changed: it remains dependent on breaking with the
past and acting outside routine, often conflicting with social norms, by introducing
new and improved combinations of resources into the economic lifecycle.
The entrepreneur remains that person with unusual will and energy to break away
from the status quo and realize a profit against the odds, often in the face of multiple
failures and at great personal expense.
An investigation into the current status of entrepreneurship in South Africa revealed
that the country's position in the lower end of global competitiveness may have a
negative impact on entrepreneurial development. South Africa is facing many
challenges in terms of poverty, unemployment, income inequality and a large
concentration of discouraged work seekers in the younger age groups. In addition, the youth are being marginalized due to their low self-esteem and confidence,
parents that are not involved or qualified, dysfunctional community structures and the
negative side of globalisation.
Against this, the study shows that the South African youth has a positive attitude
towards opportunity-based entrepreneurial activity. This finding is supported by both
the literature review and empirical research conducted in the study. Statistical
analysis of the 'Enterprise Attitude Questionnaire' completed by 1 748 grade 10
learners produced satisfactory levels of construct validity, reliability and relationships
between the constructs of 'leadership', 'achievement', 'personal control' and
'creativity' to conclude that learners are positive about opportunities in South Africa
and the formation of new entrepreneurial ventures.
However, the study suggests that grade 10 learners in the Sedibeng sample have
overrated expectations of their future academic qualifications. A positive attitude
towards further learning can be commended, but failure to reach these goals will
result in frustration which would counteract successful youth development.
In addition, respondents in this study appear to be overly positive regarding the
existence of entrepreneurial opportunities; their knowledge, skills and plans to start
their own business after completing school; as well as their low fear of failure as a
factor that will prevent them from starting their own business. It is suggested that
young learners need to be exposed to the realities of entrepreneurial venturing so
they can understand that the path to entrepreneurial success is strewn with many
obstacles and personal challenges.
The study also reveals that there is no practical significant differences between the
mean values for the demographic variables gender, ethnic origin, exposure to
entrepreneurship at school and self-employed parents or guardians. Whereas the
results for gender and ethnic origin suggest that male and female learners from
different ethnic groups should react similarly to a program of entrepreneurial learning,
the lack of practical significant differences between learners from the perspectives of
entrepreneurship exposure at school and having self-employed parents or guardians
suggest that catalytic factors (which should impact positively on the attitudes of
learners) have not had the desired effect on the Sedibeng sample.
Major shortfalls in the current education system are highlighted including teachers
with low morale and high levels of stress, the lack of resources, the transfer of mainly
theoretical knowledge, the traditional "listen and take notes" role of learners and an
urgent need for changes in "traditional classroom delivery" to a focused approach on
entrepreneurial learning. The lack of an organised system of youth learnerships is
also singled out as a possible cause for the poor involvement of South African
business in the development of youth.
A gap-analysis between the current and desired state of entrepreneurship education
in South Africa shows an extensive list of shortfalls, and the study concludes that
public schools in South Africa, given the challenges currently facing both teachers
and learners, do not have the capacity to implement a successful program of youth
entrepreneurship development without an intervention driven from the outside.
In essence, this study concludes that the window for accelerated youth
entrepreneurship in South Africa is open, and that a collaborative effort driven by
entrepreneurs with the involvement of the Government, educators and organised
business is needed to promote youth entrepreneurship in South Africa. Accordingly,
the study presents a number of recommendations directed at the grassroots level for
the promotion of youth entrepreneurial learning in the Sedibeng District.
The study expands on these basic recommendations by presenting a national
strategy for accelerated youth entrepreneurship development in secondary schools in
South Africa. The proposed South African Youth Entrepreneurship Development
Initiative (SAYEDI) is explained in broad detail, but the study concludes that further
research is needed to determine the appropriate method and required curricula to
find an entrepreneurial solution for the entrepreneurial dilemma facing the South