Assessing Entrepreneurship Practices at the Palestinian Higher Education Institutions
طبيب, شرين محمود
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Entrepreneurship has been widely recognised as being vital for economic growth through increased employment, productivity and innovation and improved social welfare. Higher educational institutions (HEIs) worldwide understand that teaching entrepreneurship is critical to their mission and their role in their communities. In Palestine, almost all HEIs have implemented several entrepreneurship initiatives to prepare their students for business ventures. The main aim of this study is to assess the entrepreneurial practices (EPs) in Palestinian HEIs. These EPs are assessed in terms of eight factors, including leadership and governance; organisational capacity, i.e. funding, people and incentives; entrepreneurial teaching and learning; preparing and supporting entrepreneurs; digital transformation and capability; knowledge exchange and collaboration; internationalisation and the impact of implementing entrepreneurial initiatives on the quality of education. To achieve this aim, an exploratory research was conducted. A mixed research approach was used to collect data. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 entrepreneurship experts in the West Bank (WB). A questionnaire was developed, based on the European commission tool, HEInnovate, and given to 276 participants who are involved in entrepreneurial activities, including students, staff and alumni, in six selected Palestinian universities. The main finding was that, from the perspective of the target population, there is a high level of implementation of EPs in the universities. The EP that is most often implemented in the universities surveyed was leadership and governance and the most rarely implemented EP was organisational capacity. In addition, it was found that the key barriers to the implementation of EPs were the lack of sustainable funding for entrepreneurial projects, the absence of a national plan to organise entrepreneurial work in Palestine and the shortage of qualified staff and entrepreneurs in universities.