Current education system fails to empower students to innovate

12th October, 2015

More than 77,000 Year 12 students have kicked off their final exams today in what may be their most daunting experience to date. There has been much public discussion in the past few weeks about the exams and the pressure it puts on our students. Is it the be all and end all? Are today’s leaders where they are solely because of their experiences in high school?

MYOB’s SME Snapshot this month looked at the education system and its impact on Australia’s successful business owners. The feedback we received could be a sign of relief to many of the students heading into the most stressful experience teenagers face.

Learning business skills on the job

An overwhelming 78 percent of business owners surveyed in MYOB’s SME Snapshot didn’t feel a university degree was required to run a business. The research indicates that our SME business owners are learning skills on the job, rather than through their education.

According to the SME Snapshot, 60 percent of business owners felt that our education system is failing to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, two factors critical to the success of Australia’s economy. Innovation was also a core focus in Malcolm Turnbull’s first statement as Prime Minister.

Two thirds of respondents said that when it came to running a business, the current education system does not give students the skills they need. Similarly almost half felt that their own education had not helped them in running their small business today.

Research released over the weekend tells us that almost 40 percent of students feel above-average levels of stress, and 6 percent suffer from severe levels of anxiety. The main causes of pressure were identified as workload (50 percent), expectations to perform (26 percent) and the importance of exams (22 percent). ReachOut has developed a brilliant campaign, encouraging students to do their best, but also providing a poignant reminder that there is life beyond Year 12 exams.

Supporting innovation

There is always more we can do to support innovation across the country. The logical place to start fostering innovation and entrepreneurialism is the education system. Developing these skills early means we will be able to tap the creative potential of the next generation of business leaders.

Grooming today’s students to be successful innovators tomorrow is a crucial part of the education puzzle in the 21st century. Hopefully in future there will be as many children wanting to be an entrepreneur as those who want to be a teacher, a firefighter or a lawyer.

Good luck to all of our Year 12 students. Keep calm, the sun will shine again tomorrow.