STATUS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS IN EDO SATE.

STATUS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS IN EDO SATE.

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

          One of the goals of education is to ensure that the learning needs of all young people and adults alike are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills.  As a matter of fact, the provision of vocational skills constitutes an important component in the Nigerian education system.

          Human resources represent the greatest assets utilized for the efficient and effective management of any organization.  Entrepreneurship education has no doubt assumed a new dimension due largely to the contributions it has made towards the growth of the national economy.  In the light of this, the nation’s educational regulatory agencies such as the National Universities Commission (NUC), National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and others have been mandated to include entrepreneurship education in their curricula (Babalola, 2010).

          Most developing countries including Nigeria are plagued with high level of unemployment, underemployment, poverty, diseases and acute shortage of infrastructural facilities.  The unemployment situation among Nigerian school leavers and graduates as at 2000 was alarming.  By the time the military left office in 1999 high unemployment has already led to increasing poverty and serious social problems in Nigeria (Babalola, 2010). Available information from the National Bureau of Statistics shows that inflation rate is very high at 9.6 percent and unemployment is 24 percent, the highest in about 16 years (Daily Sun, 2016).

          In order to stem the tide of unemployment in the country, the Obasanjo administration mandated that all university students in Nigeria, regardless of their major, be exposed to entrepreneurship education.  This is in realization that Nigeria would need to increasingly globalize its education in two key areas, namely:  Information and Communication Technology and Entrepreneurship Education. To this end, the UNESCO’s section for Vocational and Technical Education in cooperation with the National Board for Technical Education in Nigeria anchored the project that aimed to better equip large numbers of young Nigerians for the world of work (UNESCO, 2000).

          Today, Nigeria is faced with serious unemployment problem coupled with a declining standard of living, increasing disparity between the urban and rural areas of the country and inadequate social and physical infrastructures to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population (Ferej, 2009).  To provide a means of survival, many of the unemployed have turned to doing menial jobs and others are involved in the informal sector to create small enterprises mainly as traders.

          In the past, a widespread approach to solving the problem of limited job opportunities was through the establishment of large industrial complexes that were expected to provide many jobs and enhance the economic situation of the local area (Charmes, 2010).  This approach has been largely unsuccessful because it was capital-intensive where there is limited capital as in the case of Nigeria.  It actually provided few new employment opportunities and exacerbated the gap between the rich and poor.  Because of the failure of this approach, formal development efforts are now emphasizing the creation of small enterprises in the informal sector that are operated by self-employed individuals.

          While much of the job growth potential in Nigeria seems to exist through the creation of small enterprises, the ultimate impact of new job creation through the informal sector may be limited for numerous reasons.  First, much of the growth of private enterprises in the informal sector in Nigeria has been spontaneous rather than as a result of deliberate strategies within an overall government policy framework.  Second, although large numbers of small enterprises may be created, their prospects for growth into medium-size enterprises are limited (House, Ikiara and McCormick, 2010).  Reasons for this lack of growth include an over-supply of similar goods in the market-place, lack of managerial and technical skills, limited capital and low product quality (House et al, 2010).

          Increasingly, small enterprise development is regarded as crucial to the achievement of broader objectives of government.  These include poverty alleviation, economic development and the emergence of more pluralistic societies (International Labour Organization, 2000).

          The nation’s educational aims and objectives as contained in the National Policy on Education (FGN, 2014) is the acquisition of appropriate skills, abilities, competencies both mental and physical as equipment for the individual to live in and contribute to the development of his society.

          The focus of entrepreneurship education is aimed at preparing individuals for the enterprise as employees and employers of labour.  Popham (2001) posits that an entrepreneurship education is meant to inculcate into the beneficiary what it takes to efficiently and effectively harness and utilize the available human, material and financial resources for the production of goods and services.

          Entrepreneurship education has been receiving attention nationally.  The government places greater emphasis on entrepreneurial development in Nigeria. The National Universities Commission (1989) circulated to all tertiary institutions an approved Minimum Academic Standard for the teaching of courses in business schools at the undergraduate level and it added a compulsory course on Entrepreneurial Development. Several attempts have been made through researches, mounting of entrepreneurship programmes in both institutions of learning and entrepreneurship research centres for the purpose of developing entrepreneurship spirit (Akpomi, 2009).

          While acknowledging the necessity and importance of education in shaping the culture and destiny of any nation, it should also be understood that a serious departure is needed from hitherto traditional way of doing things especially the manner of training and method of teaching in Nigerian universities and other xxxxxxxx.  There is need, therefore, to focus on entrepreneurship education at the university level and other tertiary institutions.  This should target alternative teaching methods that will harness, inculcate and develop the entrepreneurial career of younger generations and also improve their potentiality towards entrepreneurial skills which will consequently foster economic growth and development leading to employment (Nkang, 2013).

          The aim of entrepreneurship education is to encourage and train the recipients to create self employment opportunities for themselves and others through establishing new businesses.  Entrepreneurship education stimulates human, business interest and potentials including the development of managerial skills and good human relations which are needed for successful operations of any business.  Entrepreneurship education provides opportunities for youths to master competencies related to core entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and attitudes, such as business opportunity recognition, idea generation and marshalling resources for establishing and running of a business (Oduma, 2012).

          Unemployment is among the major developmental problems that face every developing economy in the 21st century (Ewhrudjakpor, 2010). In Edo State today, the increasing unemployment rate among the youth has become worrisome to the government and every well meaning citizen. There is need for a deliberate intervention to address this problem.

          In Nigeria, the Federal Government in 2008 acknowledged that 80% of Nigerian youths are unemployed and 10% under-employed (Daily Trust, 2008). Abdullahi (2009), the then Minister of Youth Development, reported that 42.2% of Nigerian’s Youth population is out of job. Oyedokun (2010), the then chairman of the House Committee on Youth and Social Development revealed that of the over 40 million unemployed youths in the country, 23 million are unemployable, hence the need to articulate what could be done to salvage the situation. The present situation has become alarming because most graduates turned out by the nations tertiary institutions lack relevant marketable skills (Adamu, 2010). 

For most developing countries like Nigeria, government and policy makers are increasingly finding it difficult to grapple successfully with youth unemployment. This high rate of unemployment can be blamed on the lack of adequate provision for job creation in the development plans, the ever expanding educational growth and the desperate desire on the part of youths to acquire university education irrespective of course and course contents. As a result, a number of skills acquired from the university appear dysfunctional and irrelevant (Okafor, 2011).

          The problem of unemployment is particularly pathetic as a number of graduates from various institutions looking for employment opportunities are increasing by the day in Edo State.  It is pertinent to note that entrepreneurship education can bring about the desired remedy to this unacceptable situation.  It can be a tool for securing employment and emancipation of people through the provision and acquisition of necessary knowledge and skills to make lives more meaningful for the citizenry. These can only be achieved when a qualitative entrepreneurship education is instituted in tertiary institutions in Edo State.

Gender is a term used to classify people into masculine, famine and sometimes neuter (Webster, 2007). Gender issues are prominent in every major discussion of entrepreneurship  education as males tend to be more involve in entrepreneurial activities.  This, no doubt, contribute to higher rate of female unemployment as they stood at 45% out of 70% unemployed population in Nigeria (Beaver, 2010).  Supporting Beaver, World Economic Forum (2011) notes that fewer women are employed especially when compared to 80% of men.  No wonder Audretsch (2012) posits that engaging more women in economic productivity will improve the global economy significantly and this will also ensure gender equality and family well being.

Entrepreneurship education is offered at different levels of Nigerian education system.  In  recent years, due to increasing level of unemployment in Nigeria, government at various levels embark on introduction of entrepreneurship education in various institutions.  Tertiary institutions comprises majorly of Universities, Polytechnics, monotechnic and Colleges of Education. These institutions are either owned by the public or private individuals.  The public owned institutions can be grouped under state government and federal government owned institutions. At tertiary institutions, entrepreneurship education is mostly offered as a general course for all the students at different levels. In Edo State tertiary institutions, entrepreneurship education is domiciled in business education department and other business related departments.

Statement of Problem

          Since 1999 when the clarion call came from the Federal Government of Nigeria on the need to introduce entrepreneurship education in all higher institutions in the country to stem the rising tide of unemployment among the youths, many have conformed but there remains a missing link. In other words, the unemployment rate is still rising to the unhappiness of the unemployed and the populace at large. Unfortunately, over a decade after the introduction of entrepreneurship education, there is very little to show for it. Its introduction has not justified the huge investment in it and the attention it has attracted. The unemployment queue is getting longer at the passing out of youth corpers each year. A good number of graduates still roam the streets in search of non existent jobs many years after graduation.

          According to Akpan (2015), the rate of unemployment in Nigeria rose from 21.4% in 2010 to 27.4% in 2012 and declined to 24.7% in 2013. This position he expressed as the accurate unemployment rate as released by Federal Bureau of Statistics. But he expressed disappointment over the rating of unemployment rate in Nigeria by Federal Bureau of Statistics as at 2014 and 2015 to be 6.4 and 7.5 respectively.  This, he argued, was a wrong data as it showed that Nigerian economy is almost at full employment even as the tertiary institutions annually produce graduates who roam the streets in search of jobs. Also Olusakin (2010) found out that even though up to date statistical data are lacking, local media reports indicate that half of the Nigeria population as at 2006 are youths; 95% of whom are unemployed. In addition, according to the Presidential Committee on Entrepreneurship Education, the directive by the Federal Government to make entrepreneurship education compulsory in all higher institutions in the country was informed by the realization that the type of education offered to students in most of the nations tertiary institutions has constrained the entrepreneurial capacity of youths to contribute meaningfully to national development.

          While it is true that the introduction of entrepreneurship education was meant to reduce unemployment, yet unemployment is on the increase inspite of its introduction. This raises concern on the quality of instruction offered to the students, methods used in delivering instruction, adequacy of human resources for effective implementation of entrepreneurial programmes and entrepreneurial skills possessed by graduates of tertiary institutions. Also, since almost all the tertiary institutions offer entrepreneurship programme.  There need to determine the status of entrepreneurship education and how it can reduce unemployment. There is need therefore to empirically determine the modalities of implementation of entrepreneurship education in the higher institutions and identify the pit falls and remedies to the identified pit falls since it remains the only viable strategy to enlarge job opportunities.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study is to determine the status of entrepreneurship education organized in tertiary institutions in Edo State. In specific terms, the study will::

1.                 Ascertain the methods used in teaching entrepreneurship education.

2.                 Determine the extent of availability of materials resources for teaching entrepreneurship education.

3.                 Ascertain the adequacy of human resources for teaching entrepreneurship education.

4.                 Determine how entrepreneurship education has reduced unemployment in the state.

Significance  of the study

The findings from this study will benefit  students, lecturers,  organizations, government and the public at large in various ways.  The students will develop interest in entrepreneurship education.  They will be more serious with the course and can apply themselves in the establishment of small business enterprises in absence of employment opportunities after graduation. 

The lecturers on their part will adjust to a better management and delivery of the course. This will bring about effective and efficient teaching and learning of entrepreneurship education.  The employers of labour will be happy to have workers who are business conscious and who would help to increase the productivity of the various companies.

          The government will also benefit as  awareness  will be created  on the efforts being  made by various institutions of higher learning on the implementation and achievement of government policy on  entrepreneurship  education which has  great  interest on the success of the  programme. 

The general public can benefit too as jobs can be created  and they stand the chance of being employed by those graduates who would  set up small scale business  enterprises.     By so doing the labour market will be decongested and these new entrants into business will not only create employment for themselves but also others.  This will increase the available goods and services for the consumers and in the long run the welfare of the people will be enhanced. The findings of the study will expose the quality of entrepreneurship education programme in tertiary institutions.

Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study

1.     What are the methods used in teaching entrepreneurship education?

2.     To what extent are material resources available for teaching entrepreneurship education?

3.     What is the level of adequacy of the number of human resources for teaching entrepreneurship education?

4.     How can entrepreneurship education reduce unemployment in Edo State?

Hypotheses

1.     There is no significant difference on the responses of lecturers from University and those from polytechnics on the method used for teaching entrepreneurship education. 

2.     The responses of lecturers in private and public institutions will not differ on extent of availability of material resources for teaching entrepreneurship education.

3.     The responses on the level of adequacy of the number of human resources in teaching entrepreneurship education will not significantly vary based on sex.  

4.     The mean responses of lecturers from federal, state and private owned institutions on the impact entrepreneurship education will have on the employability of graduates of the programme will not differ significantly.






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