ENTREPRENEURIAL EDUCATION AS A TOOL FOR REDUCING UNEMPLOYMENT IN NIGERIA
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Education in Nigeria is devoid of the element crucial to averting the surging rate of unemployment in the country, therefore the breeding of psychological dependence on direct access to money. Entrepreneurial development through education will advance the economy of the nation; much credence should be given to it and ingrained with focus on profitable personal development. Unemployment prevails in the country, hence, the growth of violence, poverty and segregation amongst citizens, because the educational system itself fails to empower the ones passing through it. This research work, therefore examines the strategies of entrepreneurial education carried out in two of the universities pioneering it; Federal University of Technology, Akure, and Covenant University Ota, the former being a public university and the latter a private university. The objectives of the study were to appraise if educational styles arouse interest of students in the industries of their discipline; to explore the effectiveness of entrepreneurial development strategy in education in universities that implements it; to see if the current university educational system stimulates entrepreneurial creativity in its students. The methodology adopted was a mixed analysis of quantitative and qualitative parameters based on the survey design which relied on primary and secondary sources and secondary sources ofgathering data, through the use of questionnaires and interview instruments. One hundred (100) questionnaires were administered, and they were all returned. The study adopted quota and simple random sampling technique. The data was analyzed and presented using tables and percentages. The findings of this research portrays a huge disparity between the perception and conceptualization of entrepreneurship in the graduates of each university used in the study, this further highlights the significant impact of the system of teaching entrepreneurship within the two universities. The study shows that entrepreneurial education should be taught with field oriented and practical approaches. It was discovered that graduates from Covenant University are more apt to creating value, and are more self driven and willing to use opportunities available to them whether or not they have an employment. The study recommends that there should be a working partnership, bridging the gap between the higher institutions and the industry. Lecturers should have field experience to aid communication and teaching of the courses and Universities should work toward becoming entrepreneurial hubs for students and young entrepreneurs. The government should also focus more on the youth age group for entrepreneurship development in the country amongst other things critical to the development of the nation.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Nigeria is bedeviled by a myriad of problems which, despite her oil wealth, inhibit her development and even threaten her continued existence as a sovereign state. Nigeria’s socio-political and economic circumstances give the significant indication that many of her problems stem from an origin of artificial colonial construct which lumped together a variety of separate peoples. Fragmentation of the nation is seen as a distinct possibility unless its citizens can be induced to accept a new sense of Nigerian identity, involving a commitment to the survival of the present state as a cohesive entity. This would necessitate a number of radical changes, not only in the political and economic structure of the country but also in the psychology of the people. Nigerians have lived through series of administrations underdifferent governments, and the question still arises, ‘is Nigeria a nation at all?’ A critical look at what the government calls reform reveals a personally instituted concept of governance, filling the seats of power with those they believe to be their kin, rather than have professionals in the positions of merit, and a breed of people typified by their integrity of heart, ingrained in the trainings and qualifications they have received in the course of service to the nation. The increasing number of those who are not gainfully employed or adequately educated in the country, remain preys as political tools of violence as it has been seen in the history of violence occurring in the country over a period of time. The country has depended much on oil as its major source of revenue for years, however, the current administration also fails to recognize that the future of the country may very well depend on the economy of its people(the youths), which is possibly the only untapped, ill harnessed, most lucrative resource of the country. If it remains this way in the next ten years, putting into consideration the effect of increased poverty, lack of employment, poor educational system, it is unpredictable what the result will be.
National Bureau of Statistics shows the statistical data of the rate of unemployment and the population rate from 2006 to 2011 in Nigeria. It is the result of a survey carried out by the National Bureau of Statistics and shows that persons aged 0-14 years constituted 39.6%, those aged between 15-64 (the economically active population), constituted 56.3%, while those aged 65 years and above constituted 4.2%. Analysis of employment data for the past 5 years show that the rate of new entrants into the labour market has not been uniform in the past five years.
The rate was on the increase from 2007 to 2009 but declined significantly from 2009 to 2010. The rate increased again from 2010 to 2011. Within the five year period, there has been an average of about 1.8 million new entrants into the active labour market per year.
Governments, or local leaders, who are generally not held accountable for how much money is spent, and how education systems are managed,
Sufficiency attitude – What is provided for the poor is good enough
Inadequate pro-poor infrastructure or support systems this makes it difficult to implement successful poverty eradication interventions
A lack of systematic tracking of pro-poor interventions – in this way, it is extremely difficult to know if the activities and programmes implemented have had any impact at all. Nigeria cannot combat the ills of the society just by raising its budget; there should be a strategic systematic approach to education that would bridge the gap between its service delivery and its effectiveness in the country.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Education in Nigeria is devoid of the element crucial to averting the surging rate of unemployment in the country, therefore the breeding of psychological dependence on direct access to money. Entrepreneurial development through education will advance the economy of the nation; much credence should be given to it and ingrained with focus on profitable personal development. Unemployment prevails in the country, hence, the growth of violence, poverty and segregation amongst citizens, because the educational system itself fails to empower the ones passing through it. This should be the core message of the evolving educational policy of Nigeria which is devoid of a system of education that emphasizes on the need to culture the country's young through the knowledge of rudimentary entrepreneurial development, common cultural heritage, and identification of exploitable strengths of structures, systems and cultures of others.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
- To appraise if educational styles arouse interest of students in the industries of their discipline.
- To explore the effectiveness of entrepreneurial development course/training in education in universities that offers it.
- To see if the current university educational system stimulates entrepreneurial creativity in its students
1.4 Research Questions
- Can unemployment problem in Nigeria be solved through entrepreneurial development?
- Is the entrepreneurial development programmes of government been able to lessen the unemployment problem in Nigeria?
- The role of entrepreneurs in economic development is to increasing per capital output and income of a country?
- Entrepreneurship facilitates the use of local raw materials and other resources?
- Entrepreneurship education promotes interdependence of business in a country?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The focus of this study brings to the fore the crucial need for entrepreneurial education in Nigeria, putting more consideration on the educational system, strategies and its eventual social developmental effect in the society. The study highlights the problems of the level of education in the country and its equivalence to level of poverty in the society by virtue of lack of employment or knowledge of how to startup businesses. One of the MDG goals highlights education as a critical factor for reducing poverty and dependency in developed nations. Therefore, this thesis contributes to knowledge by identifying what is important to the economy, which is qualitative education focused on the needs of the economy per time, rather than the resolution of the United Nations to increase budgetary details or increasing the number of people that go through school. This is not the first paper on entrepreneurial education; however, it is the first to do a comparative study on what is being implemented by different universities to see its effectiveness in order to ascertain the strategy which would eventually help for the Nigerian economy in truly eradicating unemployment in Nigeria.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study examines the role of entrepreneurial education in the development of Nigeria, its significance in the reduction of unemployment in Nigeria and including a comparison between universities that implement para-entrepreneurship educational systems. The study considered the undergraduates of the current university system, from levels one to the final year, those who gained admission into the university in the last five (5) years. This study period is considered to be relevant because of its immediate impact on the future of Nigeria, through which one can discover if the role education plays currently will facilitate national development. The study considers students and graduates of Covenant University, Ota and Federal University of Technology, Akure as case studies. It is a comparative study between the two universities; the former being a Christian private university, and the latter a federal university. The two universities have embraced entrepreneurial education as part of their curriculums for at least three (3) years.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
The limitations to the study are listed below:
- Classroom observations were inhibited by the long and cumbersome process of obtaining permissions to carry out research.
- Knowledge of lecturers about research would impede the regular style of lecturing to attempt including entrepreneurial mentions during classes
- Responses from some undergraduates were possibly laced with ideals rather than realistic perspective of what they do experience (please see chapter four)
- There was no comprehensive data on graduate employment statistics from the universities involved.