STATUS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION IN SOUTHSOUTH NIGERIAN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS AS PERCEIVED BY LECTURERS

STATUS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION IN SOUTHSOUTH NIGERIAN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS AS PERCEIVED BY LECTURERS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Entrepreneurship education in Nigeria came about as a means of proffering solution to the unemployment challenges facing young tertiary school graduates. It would be recalled that graduates of tertiary institutions were ‘hot cake’ in Nigeria employment in the past; before and during the sudden emergence of the oil boom in the ‘70s when the numbers of tertiary institutions were relatively few and graduates were easily employed immediately after graduation. The employment situation then was quite appreciable but the current situation of unemployment in Nigeria is a strong detractor. The unemployment scourge in Nigeria could be traceable to the proliferation of tertiary institutions and graduates without corresponding increase in job opportunities, whether in public or private organisations; that is, the mass production of graduates was not targeted at the available job opportunities or the creation of new ones. Agbakuru (2012) reported that Sanusi Lamido, Governor of Central Bank in his speech at the annual University of Calabar lecture series attributed the increasing rate of unemployment in Nigeria to the mass production of graduates from the increasing number of tertiary institutions without corresponding increase in job opportunities and noted that it would increase if no critical set is taken to salvage the situation. The over-dependence on oil-reliant economy and the

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economic recession since in the mid ‘80s equally contributed to the high level of unemployment in Nigeria. The dearth of employment opportunities resulted in brain-drain of the labour force and social vices such as kidnapping, armed robbery, prostitution and advanced fee fraud (419) among others became rampant. The consequences of unemployment can adversely affect any nation including Nigeria.

The consequences of unemployment can be abated through entrepreneurship development by way of establishment of cottage industries, small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs). Entrepreneurship development is an important tool that can combat unemployment and alleviate poverty which is highly recognized globally as the engine of economic growth and transformation. Observations seem to show that the consequences of global economic meltdown had more adverse effect on nations that had no good enterprise culture. On the other hand, many advanced countries such as Japan, America, Israel, Australia and a host of others attained their high economic status through sustained entrepreneurial activities. Wale (2011) states that entrepreneurship is an integral part of American economy and it is an engine for job creation and economic growth.

The relevance of entrepreneurship development inspired policy makers and curriculum developers in Nigeria to include entrepreneurship education in the curriculum of tertiary institutions as a tool to combat the unemployment challenges facing young tertiary school graduates today. It

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would be recalled that the inclusion of entrepreneurship education in the curriculum of Nigerian tertiary institutions is the brain-child of the stakeholders’ conference hosted by the National Universities Commission (NUC) in 2001 on curriculum review meant to reposition tertiary education in Nigeria in order for them to meet the needs of the society. The policy on its compulsory inclusion as a General Studies (GST) course into the school curriculum by all tertiary institutions was sequel to the resolution of the National Council on Education (NCE) 53rd Meeting held in Calabar in 2006 as reported by the National Board for Technical Education (2007). The NUC Benchmarks on Minimum Academic Standard (2004) equally recommended that all GST courses including entrepreneurship education should be compulsory for all undergraduate students in the tertiary institutions to inculcate in them self-reliant skills in order to encourage self employment. All these are geared towards fulfilling the educational policy to ensure that the learners have maximum self-development and self-fulfilment as stated in the National Policy on Education section 1, subsection 9(d) as well as subsection 9(f) which states that education should relate to the overall community needs (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004).

Based on the aforementioned decision and recommendation, entrepreneurship education has become an important component in Nigerian tertiary school curriculum and a compulsory requirement for students’ graduation irrespective of their field of study. This is aimed at preparing the

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young students for a more productive and independent future life after graduation. Through the teaching of the course, students’ innate entrepreneurial tendencies could be developed through self rediscovering to make them become self-reliant in terms of being job creators who can respond innovatively and creatively to the dynamics of socio-economic changes in the society. The training could equip them with appropriate entrepreneurial competencies and skills such as innovative, inventive, risk-taking, inter-personal relationship and managerial skills among others.

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A general over view of entrepreneurial course contents indicates that students could be taught the followings: concept and meaning of enterprise, entrepreneur and entrepreneurship, how to generate business ideas, identify business opportunities, start a business, successful business management and evaluating the business operations. The course as recommended by the various agencies: National Universities Commission’s (NUC) Benchmark Minimum Academic Standard (2004), the National Board for Technical Education (2007) and the National Commission for Colleges of Education (2002) is to be taught as 2 hours credit course both in the universities, polytechnics and colleges of education respectively. The specific objectives to be attained according to the NUC Benchmark Minimum Academic Standard (2011: 19) include the following:

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understand the relationship of enterprise, entrepreneur, business, entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity.

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analyse the historical perspective of unemployment, under-employment and job dissatisfaction; personal, national and global economic recession.

identify the roles of entrepreneurial development agencies and regulatory bodies.

cultivate the spirit of entrepreneurship.

correct wrong attitudes and mind-sets and develop high entrepreneurial potential in student.

select possible business ideas, and

build the capacity to develop business plan to start a business.

The above objectives could be used as a template for other tertiary institutions being that the goal of entrepreneurship education in all the tertiary institutions is to produce graduates who will become self reliant and be able to contribute their quota to individual and national economic survival and transformation by generating jobs for themselves and others in a situation where paid employment is unavailable or less lucrative. The course is expected to be taught in the universities as Introduction to Entrepreneurial Skill (GST 231) but reviewed by NUC (2011) to be taught as Introduction to Entrepreneurship (GST 223) and Entrepreneurship (GST 311). It is also to be taught at the National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) levels in the polytechnics as (EEd 126): Introduction to entrepreneurship for

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NDI, (EEd 216): Practice of entrepreneurship for ND2 and (EEd 413): Entrepreneurship Development for HND. It is equally to be taught at the Colleges of Education as GSE 224 and particularly to business education students as Entrepreneurship in Business Education (BED 220 and BED 320).

Observation shows that teaching entrepreneurial course in the various institutions provide more theory than practical application; students are not exposed to experiential learning to allow for their ingenuity rather they are limited to the orthodox conventional lecture method of teaching/learning. This is particularly at the expense of entrepreneurial skill acquisition needed for self reliance in employment generation. Akpomi (2009), has argued that our educational process is too mechanical and frowned at a situation whereby lecture method remains the only conventional method used in teaching entrepreneurship course which cannot yield significant result. Although the tertiary education curricula has been reviewed over time; between 1969 to 2011 to refocus education to meet the needs of the society, yet the problem of unemployment challenges facing tertiary school graduates still seemed intractable. The National Bureau of Statistics report as at July 2011 indicated an increase in unemployment rate in 2009 and 2010 which stood at 19.7% and 21.1% respectively while inflation rate was 13.7% (2010 estimate). Since inflation rate in the country is as high as 13.7% according to the report, how the unemployed could survive becomes a big question. Conversely, Nigeria is envisaging to join the rest of the world to eradicate extreme poverty by 2015

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in accordance with the United Nations Millennium Declaration and equally to join the league of the 20 largest economies in the world; Vision 20;2020.

The young graduates constitute a large segment of the active labour force whose contributions are highly relevant to the attainment of the aforementioned objectives. Unfortunately, the prevailing trend seems to show that entrepreneurship education meant to equip the youths in order to bridge the gap in unemployment provides more theory than practical knowledge at the expense of entrepreneurial skills acquisition prior to their graduation. Tertiary education in Nigeria equally face numerous challenges such as inadequate teaching facilities/equipments, infrastructures, funding and the like which tend to adversely affect quality assurance in entrepreneurship education. Osagie (1992), states that teachers face challenges to produce people who are sufficiently equipped and adaptive to meet the changing needs of technology, industry and economy due to inadequate instructional facilities/equipments.

Although the entrepreneurial course contents seems to have been richly designed to effectively train the students to acquire appropriate entrepreneurial skills prior to graduation yet the extent to which the situation on ground would lead to the effective delivering of the course contents remains uncertain. Observation of the challenges that seem to face successful delivering of the course contents in the Nigerian tertiary institutions seem to call for a proper investigation of which, work such as this would and intends

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to embark on. In other words; the researcher is concern with ascertaining the status of entrepreneurship education; that is what is being done in the different institutions in terms of the course contents and its delivering practice, problems and prospects of sustaining the course in south-south Nigerian tertiary institutions.

Statement of the Problem

The dearth of employment opportunities in Nigeria arising partly from the proliferation of tertiary institutions and the mass production of graduates which were not targeted at the available job opportunities or the creation of new ones whether in public or private sector of the economy as well as the economic recession resulted in high unemployment rate. Consequently, social vices such as robbery, fraud, prostitution, kidnapping amongst others have become rampant among youths. In order to abate the ugly trend of high unemployment challenges soaring amongst young tertiary school graduates in Nigeria, education curricula were reviewed over time and series of efforts were equally made to ensure quality service delivering for quality assurance in the education programmes yet the prevailing trend of unemployment still seems intractable. Evidently, the Nigerian Trading Economy sect (2010) indicated an increasing rate in unemployment from between 2000 to 2010 (See appendix C).

Nigeria needs an effective workforce to salvage this unemployment situation and this calls for education and skill based training in

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entrepreneurship education in order to prepare the Nigerian undergraduates to become self-reliant as job creators after graduation, in a situation where paid jobs are unavailable or less lucrative. In other words, the aim of entrepreneurship education is to adequately equip students of tertiary institutions with entrepreneurial competencies and skills necessary for successful business venture prior to graduation to enable them contribute their quota to individual and national economic survival and transformation.

The attainment of the objectives of this course offering will require diligent instructional delivering and regular monitoring since the fact remains that the implementation status of any academic content is the major factor that determines its effectiveness. It is true that tertiary institutions in Nigeria including those in the south-south zone are offering entrepreneurship education as a compulsory course for all undergraduate students but is what is currently on ground in these institutions are not known. If the delivering practice of any course is not effective, it may render the objectives unattainable. The objective of entrepreneurship education which is for graduates of tertiary institutions to acquire adequate understanding of the intricacies of business operation and the skills for entrepreneurship success may become unattainable if the course delivering pattern is defective

Although the researcher has x-rayed the areas of entrepreneurship education generally, however she has not been able to have a clear picture of the status of entrepreneurship education in terms of the course content and

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its delivering practice in the three levels of tertiary education, namely; universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the south-south zone of Nigeria. The researcher is therefore interested in establishing the views of those lecturers who teach the course in those institutions where the course is being offered. In other words, the researcher is concern with establishing how entrepreneurship education course contents are being delivered in the three levels of tertiary institutions.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to determine the status of entrepreneurship education in south-south Nigerian tertiary institutions. Specifically, the study was to establish the following:

1.

the status of entrepreneurship education in south-south Nigerian tertiary institutions relative to the course contents as perceived by lecturers.

2.

the status of:

(a)human resources for effective entrepreneurship education in south-south Nigerian tertiary institutions as perceived by lecturers.

(b) material resources for effective entrepreneurship education in south-south Nigerian tertiary institutions as perceived by lecturers.

3.

teaching methods and strategies used by entrepreneurship education lecturers for delivering the course contents in south-south Nigerian tertiary institutions as perceived by lecturers.

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4.

strategies for effective delivering of entrepreneurship course contents in south-south Nigerian tertiary institutions as perceived by lecturers.

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constraints to effective delivering of entrepreneurship course contents in south-south Nigerian tertiary institutions as perceived by lecturers.

Research Questions

The following research questions were raised to guide the study

1.

what is the status of entrepreneurship education in south-south nigerian tertiary institutions relative to the course contents as perceived by lecturers?

2.

what is the status of

(a)human resources for entrepreneurship education in south-south nigerian tertiary institutions as perceived by lecturers?

(b) material resources for entrepreneurship education in south-south nigerian tertiary institutions as perceived by lecturers?

3.

what are the teaching methods and strategies use by entrepreneurship education lecturers for delivering the course contents in south-south Nigerian tertiary institutions as perceived by lecturers?

4.

what are the strategies for effective delivering of entrepreneurship course contents in south-south nigerian tertiary institutions as perceived by lecturers?

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5.

what are the constraints to effective delivering of entrepreneurship course contents in south-south nigerian tertiary institutions as perceived by lecturers.

Null Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated indirectly from the research questions and tested at 0.05 level of significance.

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There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of respondents on the status of entrepreneurship education course contents in south-south Nigerian tertiary institutions based on type of institutions (Universities, Polytechnics, and Colleges of Education).

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There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of the tertiary institutions’ entrepreneurship education lecturers on the status of human and material resources available for entrepreneurship education.

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Experienced (above 5years) and less experienced (1-5years) entrepreneurship education lecturers do not differ significantly in their opinions regarding the teaching methods and strategies used for effective delivering of entrepreneurship course content in south-south Nigerian tertiary institutions.

4.

Lecturers in federal and state tertiary institutions do not differ significantly in their mean ratings regarding the strategies for effective delivering of entrepreneurship course contents in south-south Nigerian tertiary institutions.

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5.

There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of male and female eentrepreneurship education lecturers on major constraints to effective entrepreneurship education course contents delivering in south-south Nigerian tertiary institutions.

Significance of the Study

The findings of this study could be of immense benefits to the tertiary institution students who are the ultimate beneficiaries, entrepreneurship education lecturers, management of tertiary institutions, curriculum developers, the government and public generally.

Specifically, the findings could serve as an impetus to improving the overall process of entrepreneurship education to ensure that the students acquire appropriate entrepreneurial skills prior to graduation thereby equipping them with self reliant skills to be self employed in a situation where paid jobs are unavailable or less lucrative. In other words, the students will be better equipped with appropriate entrepreneurial skills if the course delivering practice is enhanced by using strategies such as academic-industrial synergy, predictive expectancy; a motivational strategy and follow-up service. It could also provide road map for the lecturers to adjust their instructional strategies because the quality of graduates depends on their capabilities in effective curricula delivering. It will acquaint them with new strategies such as collegial relationship particularly collegial pair or group which will enable them collaboratively and cooperatively solve teaching

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problems together that would have affect individual lecturer’s attrition rate. They could equally engage in professional dialogue to increase their knowledge, skills and techniques to enhance their proficiencies in the course contents delivering to promote quality assurance. In addition, through academic-industrial synergy they could be exposed to industrial real life situation and become more efficient in curricula delivering through constant interaction with industrial facilities/equipments.

The findings could enable management of institutions and supervisory agencies to discover areas that need special and urgent intervention in entrepreneurship education through constant internal monitoring and evaluation of the process. This will enable management provide timely redemptive measure to the observable deficiencies that would have been inimical to the instructional delivering practice.

The findings could also serve as a platform for the government to identify and provide the needed resources such as adequate infrastructure, competent personnel, adequate facilities and equipment for effective entrepreneurship education. Where possible, establish mini enterprise in the institutions as incubator for students’ practical training.

It could equally serve as a guide to curriculum developers for curriculum enrichment of the course contents to ensure that the desired objectives of entrepreneurship education are continuously realized optimally. Through this, the policy makers and curriculum developers could make necessary

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curricula adjustments to ensure that the course contents become more innovative, competency-based and the objectives are attainable. Particularly the follow-up service strategy will provide information which will serve as empirical basis for curriculum review.

The findings could also help to identify the major constraints to the course contents delivering and provide guidance to all the stakeholders on how to improve the implementation strategy to ensure quality assurance for successfully employment generation (self or paid). Particularly, parents will be greatly relieved from the emotional stress of seeing their graduated children unemployed by the government but rather they will become self employed and could even become employers of labour. The Nigerian economy could be improved through their contributions to the economic development by employing others and paying their income tax.

The findings of the study could serve as a reference material for further research studies. Since the world is dynamic, education must be tailored to meet the socio-economic and technological changes in the society. Therefore, those who wish to carry out further studies to meet the current needs could use the findings of this study as reference point.

Scope of the Study

The study was limited to determining the status of entrepreneurship education in the federal and state government owned tertiary institutions. It is restricted to the Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education in

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South-South Zone of Nigeria. The study is equally restricted to determining the status of entrepreneurship education in terms of the course contents and its delivering practice as well as ways that could enhance the effective delivering of the course contents. The study is not concern with making comparison of the status of entrepreneurship education in the different institutions but to ascertain what is on ground only.





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