Country, Date of election
Johannes Linder is changing the way children are taught inside and out of the classroom in order to inspire and institutionalize social entrepreneurship as a means to achieve effective citizenship for students.
The Austrian education system does not offer equal support to children raised in families of disadvantaged social standing. Only one third of Austrian students attend High school. The remaining two thirds of Austrian students, who are often raised in low income or migrant families, attend occupational schools such as Handelsakademie/Handelsschule and rarely have the capacity to benefit from higher education. Teachers often lack creative approaches and are disinterested in the consequences of these top-down methods of teaching.
Johannes’ creative materials are reaching about 20,000 students every year and are used in three to eight hours of schools´ curriculum each week. He has trained a total of 400 teachers and 2,700 business teachers in Austria as well as instructors in ten South Eastern European countries. Each year, 2,500 students participate in competitions, which encourage young people to combine their entrepreneurial thinking with self-driven action. Two third of them turned their ideas into reality.
Johannes believes that entrepreneurship education is indispensable for empowering students to become active citizens. The earlier these young people are given the space to develop their own initiatives, the more they are able to define themselves personally and professionally. Johannes developed a set of strategies which help include entrepreneurship education in regular school curriculums. He offers regular entrepreneurship competitions, workshops, debate programs for students. He also trains teachers both domestically and Europe-wide to carry on his idea.
Johannes´ goal is to spread his idea internationally. He has already been approached by countries in CEE, in addition to Germany and France, with requests to introduce his methods and mobilize the necessary resources. He has worked with ministries and government officials all over the Austrian region. Furthermore, he has the methodic lead within the EU-project “Youth Start”, where he is developing a transferable program introducing practical entrepreneurial experience at schools.
During his studies in business pedagogy, Johannes was increasingly astonished by the fact that facilitating student-led ideas and entrepreneurial creativity were concepts that are completely neglected in business administration curricula. He decided to dedicate his life to becoming a teacher in order to inspire participation in and innovation throughout society. He understood that he had to change not only the curricula, but also provide new teaching tools and textbooks to advance full and active citizenship.