Left Behind: A reflection on lags in the development of entrepreneurial education in South Africa




Journal Title

Journal ISSN


Volume Title


Palgrave Macmillan


Book chapter

Peer reviewed



Entrepreneurship has gained prominence in the development agendas of emerging nations all over the world for the potential it yields in bringing about economic growth and development. When it is sustained, entrepreneurship can yield the altruistic fruits of emancipating masses from generational poverty; a phenomenon that continues to grip the African continent. The question as to how to create sustainable enterprises has been partially answered in studies of the impacts of entrepreneurial education on entrepreneurs and their enterprises (Arogundade, 2011; Lourenço, Jones & Jayawarna, 2013). This question has also been partly resolved in the recognition of what role the youth can play in the creation and sustenance of enterprises (Maisiba & George, 2013; Fadeyi et al. 2015). This study draws on these two bodies of knowledge. This work seeks to make a contribution by reflecting on the progress made in embedding entrepreneurial education in the South African education system. This paper focusses on the secondary level of education; as some progress has been made at the tertiary level. Acknowledging the relevance of entrepreneurial education at primary level, that scope is covered in a separate paper. An argument is made that sustainable entrepreneurship rarely occurs serendipitously and has to be deliberately crafted from ideation through to implementation. Introducing entrepreneurial learning opportunities early on in the educational lives of young people may be the answer to creating sustainable enterprises. With apparent consensus on the value of entrepreneurship, the youth and education, it would be expected that the educational curriculum would evolve to reflect this. This study primarily seeks to identify lags in this expected evolution, make recommendations towards improvement in the system and celebrate progress made so far in the area.



Entrepreneurship, Education, South Africa


Mwila, N.K. (2021) Left Behind: A reflection on lags in the development of entrepreneurial education in South Africa. In: Kolade, S., Rae, D., Obembe, D., Woldesenbet Beta, K. (Eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of African Entrepreneurship, London: Palgrave Macmillan.


Research Institute

Centre for Enterprise and Innovation (CEI)