Refai, Deema (2010) The Significance of Problem-Based Learning in Developing Enterprise Skills for Pharmacy Students in UK HEI. In: Business and Organisational Survival and Sustainability. Papers from the Northern Leadership Academy Fellows 2009 Conference. Leeds University Press, Leeds, UK, pp. 73-84.

This research focuses on enterprise education ‘the processes or series of activities that aim to enable an individual to assimilate and develop the knowledge, skills, and values required to become enterprising’ (Broad, 2007, p.5) and its role in developing enterprise skills. Previous literature has identified several methods and objectives of enterprise education. On one hand there is formal education which is concerned with developing students’ functional skills that affect their ability to perform actions and carry out different tasks, whereas on the other hand there is informal enterprise education which is concerned with developing students’ behavioural skills that involve enterprise skills and affect the way by which different tasks are carried out.
Many aspects of informal enterprise education and its role in developing the necessary enterprise skills require further investigation, especially the contextual boundaries of specific methods and objectives. Previous literature has called for researching enterprise skills with a special emphasis on examining the specific discipline-based approaches; this is important since many of the enterprise skills recognized in literature as core skills are not expected to be equally evident or applicable across different disciplines, which makes it important to research the specific objectives and methods of enterprise education applicable in specific academic contexts as pharmacy, engineering, medicine...etc. Now at the end of the first year of a three year programme of doctoral research; this research aims to investigate the informal enterprise education methods applied within the context of pharmacy education, and the specific enterprise skills that this education aims to develop for pharmacists. More particularly it will focus on the contribution of Problem-Based Learning (PBL) to this process, along with an evaluation of whether these skills match the needs of the pharmacy marketplace. To-date, the development of pharmacists’ enterprise skills has been primarily carried out by their employers as part of career development, and it is not yet clear whether Higher Education (HE) could contribute to this process, and if so whether the development of enterprise skills should be embedded as part of HE curricula or remain as optional. Is it seen as an opportunity or will it add more constraints to the educational process?
The significance of this research is emphasized in light of globalisation which has brought about rapid changes in economies, technologies and competitive environments. Such changes have promoted the need for lifelong learning skills, and emphasized the need to link theory with practice in the educational process. It is no longer sufficient to have knowledgeable employees to drive the success and growth of organizations; employees who could meet major challenges of skills development are essential for the sustainability of their organizations. This has shifted the market demand toward HE graduates who are capable of exhibiting enterprise skills and competing on an international level.

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