New TESA accreditation awarded to leading schools committed to entrepreneurship education

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JAI’s inaugural TESA Summit celebrates entrepreneurial schools

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94 primary and second level schools from around the country were celebrated at the inaugural The Entrepreneurial School Awards (TESA) Summit hosted by Microsoft.

The TESA Summit, ably led by Master of Ceremonies Dr. Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, was an ideal opportunity 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. Entrepreneurship education 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.

SON2442 0091A range of specially-commissioned masterclasses were arranged for TESA-certified schools to attend. They 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. 

Gort Community School in Co. Galway was announced as the overall winner, the Galway second level school being recognised for its outstanding commitment to entrepreneurship education at the TESA Summit hosted by Microsoft.

As winners of the ‘TESA School of the Year – Microsoft Award’, Gort Community School will receive a prize to the value of €5,000, to further support its work in entrepreneurship education. Nominees of the school will travel to Helsinki to represent Ireland at the Entrepreneurial Schools European conference. The other category award winners, based on enrolment size, were: primary schools Darley National School, Cavan; Our Lady of Consolation School, Dublin 5, and St. Ursula’s Primary School, Waterford. Mercy College Sligo was awarded the top prize for its size among second level schools.

SON2442 0114JAI 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.

Delivering the keynote at the TESA summit, Professor Cooney, Professor in Entrepreneurship at Technological University Dublin and convenor of 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.

SON2442 0157Gort Community College was selected as the overall winner due to the importance of entrepreneurship education within the school – most student and teachers participate, resources are provided for it and it is deeply rooted in the school’s plan. I congratulate all the schools here today 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.

Each school that matched the criteria has been publicly recognised for its work in entrepreneurship education and all TESA-certified schools participated in this annual summit enabling educators and innovators to exchange best practice.

Joanne Morrissey, HR Director at Microsoft Ireland, said: “We’re delighted to host the inaugural TESA Summit at One Microsoft Place. The summit provides an important opportunity to recognise the innovative approaches taken by many schools as they look to empower their students to succeed in our digital world. Our ambition at Microsoft Ireland is to empower tomorrow’s leaders to achieve more through the power of technology. Through our digital skills programme, DreamSpace, we have committed to providing 100,000 young people with bespoke digital experiences at our innovation and education hub at our new campus whilst our Education Suite offers a space for teachers to evolve their skillset for the future of education. All of these efforts will help ensure our students leave school ready for the jobs of tomorrow.”

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