Two Mayo schools were celebrated at Junior Achievement Ireland’s (JAI ) inaugural Entrepreneurial School Awards (TESA ) Summit hosted by Microsoft recently.
Ballindine N.S. and Rice College, Westport were some of the 94 schools from across Ireland that were awarded TESA certification to mark each school’s commitment to entrepreneurship education, which covers all activities that seek to give individuals the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to achieve the goals they set for themselves to live a fulfilled life.
The TESA Summit provided an opportunity both to celebrate the work of educators across Ireland in developing entrepreneurial skills in students and to share best practice in a unique and inspiring venue.
A range of specially-commissioned masterclasses were arranged for TESA-certified schools to attend during the summit. These included Microsoft’s Educational Transformation workshop, a Design Thinking Sprint led by Professor Jonathan Levie and his team from NUI Galway and a Microsoft workshop on Ed Tech for 21st Century Educators.
JAI chief executive, Helen Raftery, commented on this first awards ceremony, saying: "TESA gives schools the opportunity to benchmark themselves against standards of excellence. For our part, it formally recognises the work being done by primary and second level schools across the country in nurturing entrepreneurial skills in students, helping them develop the essential skills, knowledge and attitudes those young people will need to achieve the goals they set for themselves. TESA is also a welcome opportunity to celebrate the incredible work of our partner schools. More than 7000 students received JA programmes in the West, and 63,100 nationwide, in the last school year alone.”
Delivering the keynote speech at the TESA summit, Professor Cooney, Professor in Entrepreneurship at Technological University Dublin and lead member on the TESA evaluation panel, said: “Entrepreneurship education affords many benefits to young people on an individual and team level. Students acquire life-skills such as identifying and evaluating opportunities, using available resources to develop an idea, joining or building a team of people with different abilities, staying positive when faced with challenges, applying creative thinking to solving problems and learning from failure as well as success. I congratulate TESA-Certified schools and look forward to supporting their efforts to continue promoting the importance of entrepreneurship education.”
TESA was launched by JAI in January of this year with a call for submission of applications from JAI partner schools across Ireland in February. The schools were self-assessed against TESA criteria and completed a submission with the aim to establish themselves as an entrepreneurial school.