The Relevance Of Entrepreneurship Education On Unemployment Challenges In Nigeria (A Study Of Public Universities Undergraduates In Edo State)
The study examines the relevance of entrepreneurship education on unemployment challenges in Nigeria. The study was undertaken among undergraduates from two public universities in Edo state which are: Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma and university of Benin.
The study adopted survey research method. Questionnaire was used to collect data from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma and university of Benin undergraduates. The simple percentage (%) was applied, to test the research hypothesis at 0.05 level of significance. The descriptive statistics involving statistical tool was used to answer the research questions.
The findings revealed that: The entrepreneur education in Nigeria should re-focus the teaching and training of students towards inculcating entrepreneurial skills that can help to be creative, innovative develop feasible business plans and set up new business ventures. The Graduate Internship Scheme of the SURE-P should be welcome in equipping graduates with the requisite skills and should be sustained and massively supported by the government to fulfill its objectives. The GIS should be infused into the entrepreneurship training programmes in the tertiary institutions.
The study concluded that entrepreneurship education is relevance to eradicating unemployment challenges among undergraduates in Nigeria. The study further recommends that: The government needs to create an investor-friendly environment encompassing stable macro-economic policies. The educational sector needs to be revamped with emphasis on science and technology. There is the need to ensure that those with innovative ideas are provided with the financial support to translate such ideas into reality.
Background of the Study
Entrepreneurship education as a functional education which can be used as a panacea for unemployment, and poverty eradication for national security, because education has remained the major instrument for national development for many countries of the world. That is the reason most nations of the world spend huge sums of money to provide education for their citizens. Thus education becomes a veritable platform for tackling socio-cultural, economic, political, scientific and technological challenges facing many nations.
According to Agi and Yellowe (2013) education is important to the development of human resources, impartation of appropriate skills, knowledge and attitude. It is the basis for transformation, industrialization and a high way to global knowledge economy. Relating to security, Agi and Yellowe (2013) explained further that education is regarded as a means of achieving culture of peace, gender equality and positive African values. It is therefore the understanding of many that education leads to national transformation and development, through reduction in poverty with ensured peace and security.
The National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (2004) document lends credence to the place of education by clearly explaining its role in self-reliance and development, Agi and Yellowe (2013) also supports this when they asserted that the goals of wealth creation or generation, poverty reduction and value re-orientation can only be attained and sustained through an efficient education system which impacts the relevant skills, knowledge, capacities, attitudes and values.
In view of the benefits of education enumerated above, Nigeria has provided education for decades with abundant available manpower. However, what keeps agitating the nation endlessly borders on the slow and inefficient economy, near primitive democracy and violent social co-existence in society (NEEDS, 2004). Evidenced with many primary and secondary schools and tertiary institution’s graduates not gainfully employed either by self or government. Supporting this Ochonma (2011) reported that about 2.8 million fresh graduates enter the labour market yearly and only 10% of these are gainfully employed. Unemployment or joblessness, as defined by the International Labour Organization (1982) occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past five weeks. The unemployment rate is a measure of the prevalence of unemployment and it is calculated as a percentage by dividing the number of unemployed individuals by all individuals currently in the labour force. The Newsweek (2011) reported that more than 200 million people globally are out of work, a record high, as almost two-thirds of advanced economies and half of developing countries are experiencing a slowdown in employment growth.
Dependence on jobs to make money to buy food and shelter was the beginning of unemployment. Because it has not always been acknowledged or measured systematically, there are limited historical records on unemployment. Recognition of unemployment occurred slowly as economies across the world industrialized and bureaucratized. The recognition of the concept of “unemployment” is best exemplified through the well documented historical records in England. For example, in 16th century England no distinction was made between vagrants and the jobless as they were simply categorised as “sturdy beggars”, to be punished and moved on (Business Week, 2011). An individual who cannot either join an enterprise or create a job is unemployed. As individual farmers, merchants, and artisans organize themselves into large enterprises, those who cannot join or compete favourably become unemployed. As population was rising, those unable to find work had a choice: starve or break the law.
Youth unemployment across the world has reached a new high and is likely to climb further. The youth population in sub-Sahara Africa was estimated at 138 million people in 2002-2003, with 28.9 million or 21% of them unemployed (ILO, 2004b). There are notable differences in youth unemployment with regard to gender. The unemployment rate for young women in sub-Sahara Africa is 18.4%, lower than the rate for young men (23.1%) even though young women’s participation rate is lower. Youth unemployment in Africa also has a geographical dimension. It is generally higher in the urban areas than in rural areas. Several factors account for higher youth unemployment rate in Africa, most notably low economic growth, low economic activity and low investment. These related factors contribute to low job creation and because of sustained (increase in some cases) population growth the small labour market is unable to absorb the resulting army of job seekers.
Youth unemployment has been increasing because most graduates lack relevant marketable skills. The Federal government recently acknowledged that about 80 percent of Nigeria’s youth are unemployed while 10 percent are underemployed (Daily Trust, 2008). According to the National Bureau of statistics (2010) the national unemployment rates for Nigeria between 2000 and 2009 showed that unemployed persons constituted 31.1%, 13.6% in 2001, 12.6% in 2002, 13.4% in 2004, 13.7% in 2006, 14.9% in 2008, and 19.7% in 2009. With respect to age group, education and sex NBS (2010) data showed that persons aged between 15 and 24 years had 41.6% unemployed. For persons between 25 and 44 years, 17% were unemployed. For persons with primary education 14.8% were unemployed while those with post secondary education had 21.3% unemployed. As regards sex, data showed that males constituted 17.% of the unemployed while females constituted 23.3%.
Entrepreneurship is not just skill acquisition for acquisition sake; it is an acquisition of skills and ideas for the sake of creating employment for oneself and also for others. It also includes the development based on creativity (Oseni, Momoh and Momodu, 2012). Entrepreneurship leads to the development of small, medium and sometimes large scale businesses based on creativity and innovation. The success of these businesses in turn helps in developing the nation’s economy. It equally reduces poverty rate with visible increment in employment rate among the youth. Entrepreneurship shifts young people from being “job seekers” to “job creators” and also from social dependence to self sufficient people. However, training is very essential in entrepreneurship.
In a similar vein, Chiguta (2001) notes that entrepreneurship has been receiving increasing recognition as a source of job creation, empowerment for the unemployed and economic dynamism in a rapidly globalizing world. Unemployment rate was discovered to be negatively related to entrepreneurial development (Oladele, Akeke and Oladunjoye, 2011). High rate of unemployment has been associated with low level of entrepreneurial development in any country. This justifies the need to increase entrepreneurial activities to reduce the high rate of youth unemployment.
Statement of the Problem
Analyzing the problem of education in Nigeria, Agi and Yellowe (2013) argued that the problem is not about curriculum or investment in education neither is it non-availability of manpower for the sector, but that many have tended to look in the direction of management of education which include lack of policy analysis to make students to fit into society, yet not relying on the government of the day but the managerial ingenuity of educational managers and administrators to make education a building block of socio-economic empowerment, prosperity, self-reliance, employment crime reduction and national security, through improved access to quality, functional eduction at all levels.
Quoting Mills, Nwadiani (2011) noted that education embraces not only the deliberate processes of schooling but it includes even indirect and incidental influences. This concept of education discusses formal and informal education; seeing education as going beyond the formal school system and includes non-formal education which makes the whole process of learning a continuous one terminating at dearth. However, because of recent happenings – unemployment, underemployment, poverty and their re-occurring effects, many people have hitherto criticized formal education for lack of its relevance while some others also strongly looked down on informal education as being unable to promote the much needed development, scientific and technological breakthrough.
According to Nwadiani (2011) there are misconceptions that non-formal education is cheap, designed and meant for the poor and it is only suitable to developing countries. It must therefore be noted that these fallacious misconceptions are forces against the acceptance and popularization of the entrepreneurship in Nigeria’s educational policy making and implementation.
Purpose of Study
The main purpose of the study is to examine relevance entrepreneurship education in addressing unemployment challenges in Nigeria.
Specifically, the objectives were to:
- Students’ perceptions on the causes of unemployment in Nigeria.
- Students’ perceptions on the effects of unemployment in Nigeria.
- Students’ perceptions on the need for entrepreneurship education in solving the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
The following research questions have been highlighted to guide the study.
- What are students’ perceptions on the causes of unemployment in Nigeria?
- What are Students’ perceptions on the effects of unemployment in Nigeria?
Students’ perceptions on the need for entrepreneurship education in solving the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
Significance of the Study
This study will be of benefit to university lecturers, students, government and the university management. The study will show to them the causes, the effects of unemployment and the need for entrepreneurship education in solving the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
To university lecturers, the study will unveil to them the areas to concentrate in the school syllabus in order to develop entrepreneurial minds of students for creative employment and also help the show the need for introducing entrepreneurship education into the school curriculum in Nigeria.
To the parents, the study of their children during child birth and training cannot be determined towards the course of study in higher institution. Lastly, the findings from the study will show to the government the role of entrepreneurship education in solving the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
Scope of the Study
This study examines the relevance entrepreneurship education in addressing unemployment challenges in Nigeria. The study will be undertaken among undergraduates from the two public universities in Edo state which are: Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma and university of Benin.
Definition of Terms
For the better understanding of this research work, some of the terms and concepts used need further explanation. These includes
Unemployment occurs when people are without work and actively seeking for work. It is a situation where someone of working age is not able to get a job but would like to be in full time employment. Unemployment is a measure of the prevalence of unemployment and it is calculated as a parentage by dividing the number of unemployed individual by all individuals currently in the labour force.
Entrepreneurship Education seeks to provide students with the knowledge, skills and motivation to encourage entrepreneurship education focuses on realization of opportunity, where management education is focused on the best way to operate existing hierarchies. Both approaches share an interest in achieving “profit” in some form and variations of entrepreneurship education are offered at all levels of schooling from primary or secondary schools through graduate university programs.
Perception is the act or facility of perceiving or apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind, perception is the organization identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical or chemical stimulation of sense organs.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
In summary, it must admit that possession of university or professional certification by tertiary institutions in Nigeria is good. But what is the use of academic degree(s) and/or professional certificate(s) if the graduates are not working or unemployed. You either work for others and get paid or create work yourself entrepreneurially and pay yourself. Whichever mode of value creation either paid employment or entrepreneurship you may adopt at the end you really require integrity. Indeed, character is the true collateral security of our values, learning and entrepreneurial successes. It keeps the society and system going. It prevents a nation from decaying and checkmates unnecessary crises and even civil disorder and war. Therefore in all your entrepreneurial pursuits and skill acquisition, character development should be given a prominent place. When character breaks down, everything breaks down. True certification in life is only evidenced by sound character and not papers called certificates, entrepreneurial success alone or by the quantity of wealth. The present state of entrepreneurship education in Nigeria mark by under-funding, negligence, lack of political will, support and investment by government and corporate bodies to invest in education cannot produce graduates who are employable or having the ability employ others. Given the various challenges the facing the country and her teeming unemployed graduates of tertiary institutions and professionals today, the sure remedy is not only the possession of certificates but the development of entrepreneurial skills which could help them identify and take advantage of the numerous business opportunities.
Moreover, the entrepreneur education in Nigeria should re-focus the teaching and training of students towards inculcating entrepreneurial skills that can help to be creative, innovative develop feasible business plans and set up new business ventures. The Graduate Internship Scheme of the SURE-P is a welcome idea in equipping graduates with the requisite skills and should be sustained and massively supported by the government to fulfill its objectives. However, the GIS should not be medicine after death by making the Nigerian graduates to waste another year after the NYSC scheme. It should be infused into the entrepreneurship training programmes in the tertiary institutions and the Federal Government through the SURE-P and corporate bodies in Nigeria partnership by supporting the project through adequate funding of entrepreneurship education, provision of fully equipped entrepreneurship centres and facilitators vocational training and internship for undergraduates of universities and colleges.
Entrepreneurship education is very important that there is urgent need for all higher educational institutions in Nigeria to comply with the presidential directives to the effect that entrepreneurship be made compulsory for all students of higher education institutions in Nigeria, irrespective of their areas of specialization. This policy decision was based on government awareness of the crucial role of entrepreneurship education and training in fostering employment generation among the teaming youths, economic growth, and wealth creation. Thus, entrepreneurial skills development according to Anho (2011), goes beyond training and education, it involves a process of human capacities building through formal and or informal training inculcating in the entrepreneur basic skills such as financial skills, technical skills, creative skills, managerial skills, intellectual skills, marketing skills,communication skills and technological skills.
The overwhelming role of entrepreneurial education in poverty eradication, self-reliance and national security and developed have been succinctly stated in this write up. Since its benefits are enormous, adequate steps should be taken to requite entrepreneurial education by providing at the various levels of governance-federal state and local government areas, suitable environment through proper curriculum planning and implementation, and by proper funding and equipping of the entrepreneurship educationcentres/units/departments of our Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges. Entrepreneurship education is a life long learning process starting as early at the elementary school and progressing through middle or secondary school to tertiary levels including adult and non-formal education. It istherefore a key to individual, state, national, continental and world economy by generating wealth through creation of jobs, thereby helping to meet up with the ever-changing social political and economic demand of modern society such as unemployment underemployment, crises, war, poverty among others. The gains ofentrepreneurship education should be well publicized through various media-radio, television, satellite, and local town cryers to enable all to embrace it.
It has often been said that the growth and development of most sectors in Nigeria are dwiddling attributed to poor management and administration of educational policies. Providing education in a nation is one thing and the ability to manage it to obtain the right quality expected is another. Education in some underdevelopment and developing nations like Nigeria should be effectively manage to include functionality which has to do with the planning, organizing, co-ordination, control, budgeting and evaluation using all available resources. This is to enable the outputs to adopt to their immediate and larger society, self, community, national and world, economic, social and other problems which many evolve. In providing employment for self and others. Education from the elementary/primary to the highest levels should include functioning (entrepreneurship) education.
Nigeria and every underdeveloped and developing nation must cultivate local initiative by promoting grassroots educational planning, implementation, utilization and monitoring. This can be done through decentralized decision-making i.e. democratization of education should be of utmost priority. Functional and entrepreneurship education is a relatively new academic discipline. It is multi-disciplinary in nature, it covers economic and business disciplines such as management, marketing and finance, psychology, sociology, anthropology, teacher and business education. In teaching entrepreneurship education, it should be taught from such perspective involving a wide spectrum of life and disciplines.
- For the entrepreneurs to be effective in creating wealth and employment opportunities, the government needs to create an investor-friendly environment encompassing stable macro-economic policies government needs to address urgently the dilapidated infrastructural facilities in the country, starting with the power sector, roads and railways, provide adequate security and give every citizen the sense of belonging.
- The educational sector needs to be revamped with emphasis on science and technology. There is need to change the mind set of young people to embrace self employment rather than waiting for non-existing government job.
- Lastly, there is the need to ensure that those with innovative ideas are provided with the financial support to translate such ideas into reality.
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