Over the recent decades, the social economy sector has acquired greater significance, in terms of economic activity and in social policy planning in EU countries and internationally. Social economy enterprises represent two million enterprises (i.e. 10% of all European businesses) and employ over 11 million paid employees (the equivalent of 6% of the working population of the EU): out of these, 70% are employed in non-profit associations, 26% in cooperatives and 3% in mutual societies. Social economy entities are enterprises, in their majority micro, small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) (European Commission, 2012)
In spite of its importance, however, this sector is not given much attention in the mainstream of higher education curricula in Europe and other continents.
It is evident that the world in the 21st century is facing profound changes and transformations and these should be reflected and addressed in the everyday activity within higher education courses. In this sense there is an urgency of finding new answers for old problems and it is possible that those answers have to do with the everyday life, with the local, with the revaluation of ancient knowledge from an intercultural perspective. It is essential that universities look at themselves and adjust their curricula to the new dynamics and challenges facing the continent and the wider world. The curricula offered by higher education institutions have to be relevant to the development and current challenges facing global society.