Received 21 March 2016; accepted 19 April 2016; published 22 April 2016
With the popularization of higher education, the traditional single-discipline training pattern has been less adaptable to the ever-changing situation, which requires higher education institutions to transform the traditional training pattern into the innovative and entrepreneurial pattern, aiming at providing qualified and comprehensive talents with innovative and entrepreneurial ideas. In this case, the institutions are able to recognize their own role in innovation and entrepreneurship education, and to construct the appropriate innovation and entrepreneurship educational pattern, which is of great significance in promoting the teaching reform of higher education, cultivating students’ entrepreneurship and practical abilities, realizing “to promote employment by entrepreneurship”, and promoting the employment of graduates from higher education institutions.
2. The Functions of Higher Education Institutions in Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education
2.1. The Functions in Improving the Theoretical System of Entrepreneurial Education
A complete scientific theoretical system is quite necessary for any kind of scientific theory. Scientific theory system has a great guiding significance in practice: without systematicness and integrity in theoretical system, this subject is bound to be incompact and disordered, and its theoretical system-based practical activities would be lacking in direction as well. As a kind of scientific theory, innovation and entrepreneurship education is also sup-posed to have a complete scientific theoretical system that fits well with their characteristics. However, our domestic innovation and entrepreneurship education have just got started, while its theoretical system is still immature. The fundamental reason is that higher education institutions and related scientific research institutions are in a lack of researches on innovation and entrepreneurship education theory, leading to a relatively immature theoretical system, with quite a lot of theoretical problems unclassified and unsolved, which mainly includes two aspects. First of all, the theoretical system of innovation and entrepreneurship education is short of depth in its contents. At present, upon innovation and entrepreneurship education, quite a lot of domestic scholars are focusing on the analysis and discussion about the superficial aspects of innovation and entrepreneurship education and its related problems, without involving the target, content system, practice system, evaluation system and other substantial and fundamental problems of innovation and entrepreneurship education. In addition, current research methods of innovative and entrepreneurial theoretical system are quite unitary, making it difficult to achieve a rapid development and expansion. At present, our domestic researches on innovation and entrepreneurship education theory mostly remain in qualitative research, and few scholars would do research with quantitative methods, while empirical on researches are much more deficient. It constrains the theoretical researches on the superficial aspects of a fundamentally rapid development. Under the circumstances, colleges should take full use of their advantages on theoretical researches, to introduce advanced research methods and to vigorously carry out empirical researches. In the meantime, they should absorb the foreign advanced experiences, and combine them with domestic development situation of innovation and entrepreneurship, strengthening the researches on innovation and entrepreneurship education, gradually forming a theoretical system that fits well with the domestic social development, in order to set up a solid theoretical foundation for China’s innovation and entrepreneurship education (Lu, 2016) .
2.2. The Functions in Guide Direction of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education
Though the innovation and entrepreneurship education in western developed countries has been quite mature, the domestic one has just got started, and there are quite a few problems in terms of the theoretical system or in practice. Meanwhile, China’s market environment is also developing continuously. At present, in China, the traditional planned economic system has not fully exited yet, with the socialist market economy system not completed, and the economic system that fits in well with domestic social and economic development not fully formed yet. All these will lead to all kinds of contradictions in social and economic development, which would bring some certain difficulties to the development of innovation and entrepreneurship education, misleading this education or even losing its way (Cao, 2014) . Under this circumstance, in order to promote the development of innovation and entrepreneurship education and to transform the innovation in technological achievements in the colleges into entrepreneurship, higher education institutions are supposed to conduct investigations and researches on the current contradictions and problems in social economy, to figure out their sources and to find out the solutions to these contradictions and problems, after a clear consideration, finally to offer guide direction for innovation and entrepreneurship education. In the meantime, institutions also need to analyze the market in details, accurately analyzing and mastering the development of socialist market economy, on the premise of respecting the market and according to the market’s development law, to give full play to the market’s leading role, bringing the institutions technological innovative achievements to the market, with combining production, study and research, to realize the transformation from innovation to entrepreneurship. Thirdly, institutions should abandon the traditional way of teaching and scientific research, making full use of their own resources, on the premise of maintaining the correct development direction, analyzing the social and market demands and guiding direction for innovation and entrepreneurship education so as to promote the development of this new-type education. At the same time, institutions should actively explore the approach that combines social and market demand, with education and scientific research, making them closely combined with innovation and entrepreneurship education, for the purpose to promote the development of the education.
2.3. The Functions in Providing Talents for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education
As an important national institution that reserves talents, college is a kind of decisive force to promote the scientific development and advanced technology of a country. College students are of an important group with entrepreneurial innovative awareness, taking significant responsibilities in the process of social development in the future. Everything, during the process of social development, is related to this element as long as it is seeking development, so is the colleges’ education. If it wants a rapid development, it must gain the talents support from higher education institutions that produce highly-competent graduates. In this process, institutions must inspire students’ innovative and entrepreneurial consciousness, starting from social practices, on the premise of improving students’ theoretical knowledge, making efforts to improve the students’ innovative and entrepreneurial consciousness. It inspires students to cultivate the entrepreneurial consciousness of confront competition and being independent; the reform consciousness of exploration and innovation; the struggle spirit of unremitting self-improvement and ambitious ideals; and the competitive spirit of daring to be the first. Secondly, institutions should help students improve their knowledge structure, broaden their knowledge and horizon, and promote their learning of innovative and entrepreneurial knowledge, which makes them form some certain knowledge structures that are related to innovation and entrepreneurship, such as laws and regulations, and commercial management. Thirdly, students’ innovative and entrepreneurial abilities should also be enhanced. To be successful innovators and entrepreneurs, they should not only have a good command of the entrepreneurial consciousness, knowledge and ability, but also possess the psychological condition of overcoming difficulties. Therefore, higher education institutions must comprehensively improve their IQ and EQ, as well as the methodic ability, professional ability and social ability that are necessary for innovation and entrepreneurship. Fourthly, institutions need to help students understand the basic rules and procedure of innovative and entrepreneurial education, master the initial innovative and entrepreneurial skills, and on the basis of fully understanding the business operation process, settle into their occupational environment. Finally, institutions are supposed to help students understand and improve the professional quality as well as the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, which mainly include the abilities of project management, innovation and entrepreneurship, teamwork and communication, for the purpose of improving their adaptability and competitiveness, and providing related talents for innovation and entrepreneurship education (He, 2013) .
3. The Current Pattern Construction of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education in Domestic Colleges
The ultimate goal of innovation and entrepreneurship education is to cultivate practical talents with innovation spirit and entrepreneurial competence, and to set up a hierarchical cultivating pattern based on different grades, knowledge and competences is extremely significant and urgent.
3.1. The First Level of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education
The first level aims for freshmen. Without too much contact with innovation and entrepreneurship education, they have only little related knowledge about that. Thus, innovation and entrepreneurship education is expected to be popularized among freshmen to awaken their innovative and entrepreneurial consciousness, and meanwhile, to cultivate their interests and abilities. To achieve this goal, institutions must set up courses in innovation and entrepreneurship education, with College Students’ Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education and College Students’ Career Planning as compulsory courses, and Entrepreneurial Management and KAB as elective courses (Peng, 2016) . Through innovation and entrepreneurship education courses, students are able to master the basic rules and methods of innovation and entrepreneurship, to continuously promote their basic vocational qualities. To arouse students’ interest in learning, institutions should make efforts to carry out a variety of knowledge lectures related to innovation and entrepreneurship, inviting some famous experts, scholars and successful people to deliver special reports, or introducing students into some well-known enterprises to know more about the development history of these enterprises, so as to inspire freshmen’s innovative consciousness and entrepreneurial ideal. Besides, higher education institutions should organize various kinds of club activities, through which the students with strong consciousness and high-level knowledge ability are able to drive those who are relatively weaker to move forwards. In this way, a mutual development could be realized for freshmen of different levels, with improvement in their innovative and entrepreneurial consciousness. In addition, through some propaganda of campus culture, such as campus broadcasting, newspaper, singing contest, poster and campus network, the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit is deeply engraved in students’ mind to improve their innovative and entrepreneurial consciousness and to inspire them.
3.2. The Second Level of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education
The second level aims for sophomores. Though sophomores have already formed the innovative and entrepreneurial consciousness, the specific methods of innovation and entrepreneurship are not clear enough for them, and as a result, an improvement in their thoughts and innovative abilities is expected to be quite significant. In order to improve sophomore students’ thinking pattern and innovative ability, higher education institutions are supposed to set up a large number of practical projects that are related to innovation and entrepreneurship, based on this education, to offer guidance for students, then to promote the personal qualities of students, or the overall quality of the class. For higher innovative and entrepreneurial abilities, institutions need to make various training plans, such as entrepreneurship, scientific and technological competitions, scientific research innovation, etc., to cultivate students’ abilities both comprehensively and systematically. Scientific research innovation plan is, based on the laboratory, research platform and research subjects, to encourage students to participate in various kinds of scientific researches, to create innovative experiment condition, to direct students to finish the experiment projects independently, to write a research paper according to the experimental results, and then, to publish it in different kinds of publication (Gao, 2016) . Besides, higher education institutions should encourage students to do the creation and invention, to participate in a variety of scientific technological or innovative entrepreneurial competitions, during which sophomore students are able to experience the fun in doing entrepreneurial training. When making entrepreneurial training plan, institutions should seriously analyze students’ knowledge structures and abilities, then to draw up a customized entrepreneurial training plan for sophomore students. In the meantime, institutions are supposed to strengthen the innovative and entrepreneurial theory education and practical education, which include laws and regulations, venture investment, marketing management, financial management, enterprise resource planning, and some software operation involved in enterprise operation, etc., in order to strengthen students’ comprehensive abilities as well as to lay a solid foundation for their innovation and entrepreneurship. Institutions should also organize students to be active in participating in academic competitions, practical bases inside and outside the campus, and being interns in some major-related enterprises, etc., so as to enhance students’ practical abilities and their innovative and entrepreneurial abilities. In addition, higher education institutions should combine innovation and entrepreneurship education with club activity, and organize more club entrepreneurial activities, through teamwork, to improve students’ innovative and entrepreneurial abilities. In order to motivate the club members to participate in activities, clubs are supposed to organize various kinds of training activities and competitions to offer students opportunities to practice in simulation drillings, to arouse their enthusiasm as well as innovative and entrepreneurial abilities.
3.3. The Third Level of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education
The third level aims for junior students. Though having cultivated certain innovative and entrepreneurial consciousness and knowledge in freshman and sophomore stage, junior students are still relatively weak when com- pared with the overall environment of social entrepreneurship, for which the innovation and entrepreneurship education of junior students is required to be optimized. At this stage, higher education institutions should strengthen the training to students’ knowledge and skills. For those with strong innovation and entrepreneurship spirit, a customized guide is necessary: to offer financial support to the projects and to conduct a tracking guide to their projects, making them real innovators and entrepreneurs. To continuously enhance students’ innovative and entrepreneurial level, institutions need to arrange faculty advisers for students to realize one-to-one tracking guidance. Faculty advisers should not only offer guidance to students’ designing and starting an enterprise or company, but also conduct regular inspection to their enterprise or company, once finding internal problems, assisting them in solving the problems after timely discussion. In the process of the third level, clubs are still supposed to be active in offering help in the design, creation and operation of students’ innovation and entrepreneurship projects. Besides, clubs should recommend some excellent projects to gain the support from colleges to keep a positive development (Guan, 2016) .
All in all, with the further development of the socialist market economy, the demand for innovative and entrepreneurial talents in China has become increasingly urgent. Under the circumstance, higher education institutions should realize the value and significance of innovation of entrepreneurship education for the country, the society and personal development. As a result, institutions should make efforts to create conditions to construct the educational pattern that fits to training students’ innovative and entrepreneurial abilities; to cultivate their innovative ability, thinking ability, professional ability, ability and entrepreneurial ability; to enhance their entrepreneurial skills and spirit; and ultimately, to promote the scientific and technological innovation capability of our country, to realize the Chinese dream, achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
*Supported by Research on Nanchong entrepreneurial environment situation under the “Mass entrepreneurship and innovation”, Nanchong City Federation of Social Sciences (Fund No. NC2015C025).