ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION AND THE ENHANCEMENT OF ENTREPRENEURIAL SKILLS AMONG UNDERGRADUATES


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ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION AND THE ENHANCEMENT OF ENTREPRENEURIAL SKILLS AMONG UNDERGRADUATES IN SOUTH-EASTERN FEDERAL UNIVERSITIES, NIGERIA.  

ABSTRACT

Entrepreneurship Education (EEd) was introduced in Nigeria universities as a compulsory course for more than half a decade now. It was hoped that EEd would help make graduates from Nigerian universities both employable and job creators. This ultimately would bring about reduced unemployment and increased productivity by enhancing the entrepreneurial skills of graduates in the country. However, after almost a decade of implementing EEd, graduates are not creating jobs as expected and unemployment is still rising among graduates. This has brought the question on the effectiveness of the EEd programme in the Nigerian universities.  This study therefore, examined the impact of entrepreneurship education on the enhancement of entrepreneurial skills among undergraduates in south-eastern universities. Four research questions and two null hypotheses guided the study. Descriptive survey design was deployed in the study. The instrument - Entrepreneurship Education and the Enhancement of Entrepreneurial Skills (EEEESQ) was used to generate data. Mean and Standard Deviation were used to answer the research questions while t-test was used to analyze the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. Findings of the study revealed that Entrepreneurship Education curriculum to a very great extent, inculcates entrepreneurial skills in undergraduates. Additionally, the findings also showed that there is poor utilization of entrepreneurship education pedagogies in the teaching of entrepreneurship education in South-eastern universities. Following from the findings, some recommendations were made which include among others that: appropriate pedagogies should be used in delivering Entrepreneurship Education; and that EEd contents should derive from industry and market requirements. 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page---------i

Approval page - - - - - - - - - ii

Certification - - - - - - - - - iii

Dedication - - - - - - - - - iv

Acknowledgement- - - - - - - - - v

Table of content - - - - - - - - - vi

List of tables - - - - - - - - - x

List of figures - - - - - - - - - xi

Abstract - - - - - - - - - xii

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study - - - - - - - 1

Statement of the Problem--------9

Purpose of the Study - - - - - - - - 11

Significance of the Study - - - - - - - 11

Scope of the Study - - - - - - - - 13

Research Questions - - - - - - - - 14

Research Hypotheses - - - - - - - - 14

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Conceptual Framework - - - - - - - - 16

Concept of Education - - - - - - - - 16

Concept of University Education - - - - - - 17

Concept of Entrepreneurship - - - - - - - 23

Concept of Entrepreneurship Education - - - - - 25

Concept of Entrepreneurial Skills - - - - - - 32

Theoretical Framework - - - - - - - - 36

The Cognitive Theory by Taylor (1998) - - - - - 36

The Ecological Approach Theory by Aldrich Howard (1990) - - 38

Review of Empirical Studies - - - - - - - 40

Studies on Entrepreneurship Education - - - - - 40

Studies on Entrepreneurial Skills - - - - - - 42

Studies on Undergraduate Skill Development - - - - 45

Summary of Literature Review - - - - - - 47

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODS

Design of the Study - - - - - - - - 49

Area of the Study - - - - - - - - - 49

Population of the Study - - - - - - - 50

Sample and Sampling Techniques - - - - - - 50

Instrument for Data Collection - - - - - - 50

Validation of the Instrument - - - - - - - 51

Reliability of the Instrument - - - - - - - 51

Method of Data Collection - - - - - - - 52

Method of Data Analysis - - - - - - - - 52

CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS

Research Question 1 - - - - - - - - 53

Research Question 2 - - - - - - - - 55

Research Question 3 - - - - - - - - 59

Research Question 4 - - - - - - - - 61

Hypothesis 1 - - - - - - - - 63

Hypothesis 2 - - - - - - - - 64

Summary of the Findings--------65

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION, CONCLUSION, RECOMMENDATIONS AND SUMMARY

Discussion of Findings - - - - - - - - 67

Conclusion - - - - - - - - - 70

Educational Implication of the Findings - - - - - 71

Recommendations - - - - - - - - - 72

Limitations of the Study - - - - - - - - 73

Suggestions for Further Studies - - - - - - - 73

Summary of the Study - - - - - - - - 74

REFERENCES - - - - - - - - - 76

APPENDICES

Appendix A: Corrected Questionnaire - - - - - 83

Appendix B: Validation of Instruments - - - - - 88

Appendix C: Entrepreneurship Education Curriculum Content - - 100

Appendix D:  National Unemployment Rates (1995-2011) ---101

Appendix E:  Employability Skills as a Subset of Entrepreneurial Skill - - - - - -102

Appendix F:  Data Analysis of Trial Tested Instruments - - - 103

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Education is a veritable tool for enhancing economic growth and national development. It is seen as the cornerstone of development because it forms the basis of literacy, skill acquisition, technological advancement, knowledge acquisition and ability to harness the natural resources of the environment. Ayara  in  Antai and Anam (2009) asserts that education creates better citizens and helps to upgrade the general standard of living in a society. The education sector in any country is very important because education supplies the skilled manpower needed for the achievement of national economic goals and objectives. In the view of Adeogun (2003), education is a major instrument for tackling unemployment, poverty and ignorance. Some of the cardinal aims of education according to the National Policy on Education (2004:6) include; “The development of the intellectual capacity of individuals to understand and appreciate their environment and the acquisition of both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to develop into useful members of the community”. This objective of education is laudable and could be attained in the universities, through appropriate quality education and research. 

University is an institution of higher education and research which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects and provides both undergraduate and postgraduate education. One of the objectives of tertiary institutions, according to the National Policy on Education, (2004) include: “acquiring both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to be self-reliant and useful members of the society”. Unfortunately, the possession of university degrees is no longer a guarantee for employment. Many young graduates continue to roam the streets in search of jobs. This has led to a general feeling of despondency among them. Evidence below shows unemployment rate in Nigeria since 1995;

Figure 1: National Unemployment Rates (1995-2011) 

Source: National Bureau of Statistics, 2012. 

The table above shows that unemployment rate in Nigeria has been on steady increase from 7% in 1995 to 28% in 2011. Successive Nigerian governments are unable to solve this economic malaise. Unemployment among graduates has remained one of the fundamental challenges threatening the economic development and stability of Nigeria. The   situation in Nigeria is gloomy with seven (7) out of 10 graduates being either unemployed, underemployed or simply unemployable as at 2006, while over 200,000 graduates remain unemployed as at the last five years (Ayoola, 2008). Considering the fact that these graduates constitute the most active segments of the population, their inability to find good jobs portend grave danger for the country. Unfortunately, owing to the dysfunctional nature of our educational system, most of them do not possess relevant skills that would –be employers may need. Additionally, the huge number of  Nigerians graduating from various tertiary institutions each year further worsen the situation as the economy as presently constituted, is incapable of absorbing most of them. The bleak employment climate therefore, partly accounts for the general insecurity in the nation such as terrorism, violent crimes, advanced fee fraud and other sundry unpatriotic behavior.

The stated problems  above prompted the Federal Government to establish Entrepreneurship Development Centres in South-Eastern Universities to fill the skills acquisition gap in our universities and consequently, equip students with appropriate skills with which to survive in the present economic climate. Additionally, efforts have been made by various governments and institutions in Nigeria to tackle the growing rate of graduate unemployment in the country through job creation and facilitation of various mechanisms to empower graduates. A good example is the establishment of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in 1986, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of 2000, the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) reform in 2003, Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YOU-WIN) of 2011 and the current Subsidy Re-investment Programme  (SURE-P) of 2012, etc. However, it has been observed that these efforts have achieved limited success in reducing graduate unemployment as is evidenced in the prevailing unemployment rates in the country. 

The high rate of graduate unemployment in Nigeria has been blamed on the fact that most graduates from Nigerian universities are unemployable (Chiaha  and Agu, 2013).  It is due to this high unemployment rate among graduates in universities that the National Universities Commission (NUC) introduced entrepreneurship education in the university curriculum as a compulsory course (Uzoka, 2008). With the introduction of entrepreneurship education in the curriculum of Nigerian universities by the NUC, it becomes obvious that entrepreneurship education is considered an effective way of equipping graduates with the desired employability skills.

Entrepreneurship education is novel in the curriculum of higher education in Nigeria (Anannagoon, Akudo and Emetarom, 2008) . According to the authors, only a few universities seem to have introduced it as a compulsory course. Among the few universities in South-Eastern Nigeria offering Entrepreneurship Education as a compulsory course of study are; the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), which has a Centre for Entrepreneurship and Development Research (CEDR). It is structured to manage both Nsukka and Enugu campuses;  Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka (UNIZIK), which has Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies (COCES); Federal University of  Technology Owerri (FUTO) which has a Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies (CES); Federal University of Agriculture, Umudike which operates a Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED).

Entrepreneurship education is unique in the sense that, unlike many other courses, it seeks to change people’s attitudes and beliefs and to equip them with the skills necessary to plan, launch, and successfully manage their own business enterprises and that of others as well. Entrepreneurship education therefore, could be conceptualized as the type of educational process geared towards equipping students with creative and innovative ideas that will enhance self- employment and job creation (Ibe, 2008). Entrepreneurship education inculcates in individuals entrepreneurial skills that enable them confront situations in creative and innovative ways (Chiaha and Agu, 2013). Chiaha and Agu further explained that such entrepreneurial individuals create jobs for themselves and others thereby reducing unemployment. Even when such individuals are employed by other enterprises, they as intrapreneurs easily become agents of business expansion and growth leading to the creation of more business opportunities and more jobs. Corollarily, Ikeme (2012) sees entrepreneurship education as a carefully planned process that eventuates into the acquisition of entrepreneurial competencies through appropriate curriculum content.

 Curriculum is seen as an important element of education. This is due to the fact that the aims of education are reflected in the curriculum. It is through curriculum that the general aims of school education receive concrete expression. Curriculum is a group of related courses, often in a special field of study. Kuratko (2009) defines curriculum as “the instructional and educative program through which the pupils achieve their goals and aspirations of life”. Curriculum therefore, could be defined as the planned interaction of pupils with instructional content, materials, resources, and processes for evaluating the attainment of educational objectives. It includes the content of courses (the syllabus), the methods employed (strategies), and other aspects, like norms and values, which relate to the way the school is organized. Curriculum content refers to what is taught  in school, it is the subject matter or topics consisting of facts, concepts, ideas, knowledge within a particular subject and how they will bring about change in the individual and to the society (Uzoka, 2006). Curriculum content also comprises all disciplines in life which school or any educational institution requires giving the student or learner for a given period. According to Chiaha and Agu (2013), teaching entrepreneurship education with the right curriculum content is very essential as it facilitates development of core entrepreneurship traits and skills using the appropriate entrepreneurship education pedagogies. 

Education pedagogy, is the art and science of teaching, it relates to how teachers teach and what strategies they use in their work. The use of education pedagogies in universities expose students to the possibility of  acquiring a very high level of entrepreneurial skills as a result of using a variety of pedagogies, especially those that are centred highly on the psychomotor and affective domains (Agu, Chiaha and Ikeme,2013 ).  They  further listed  the best practices in entrepreneurship education pedagogies used in universities such as: business plan competition; internship; use of model teachers (use of lecturers with real life entrepreneurship experience); mentor-mentee interaction and relationship; field trips; business games; industry spin-offs; business incubation; experimental laboratories; lecture method; case studies; practical business projects; and students entrepreneurship conference. In teaching entrepreneurship education, resource persons and facilities are usually very important. A resource person is one who has knowledge, relevant skills, competence and expertise to give a talk, guidance or first-hand information in a given subject area. They could also be seen as persons who are well versed with the subject matter (Okala, 2004). On the hand, facilities can be defined as something that permits the easier performance of an action, course of conduct, etc. It can also be defined as something designed, built, installed, etc to serve a specific function affording a convenience or service. Education curriculum content is said to be achieved when the appropriate resource persons, facilities and the right pedagogies are well utilized in the university. This in other words, will go a long way in enhancing entrepreneurial skills in undergraduates.

Skill could be defined as the learned capacity to carry out pre-determined results often with the minimum outlay of time, energy, or both. The concept of skill comes from the field of psychology, where it is widely used to explain human development across different domains. Fischer and Bidell (2005) define skill as “a capacity to act in an organized way in a specific context”. A skill is a translation of one’s expertise/knowledge into a behavior. In adapting the skill concept to entrepreneurial behavior, it is suggested that entrepreneurial skills represent a capacity to organize and develop a business successfully and sustainably. 

   Entrepreneurial skill is simply the necessary set of skills required to be an entrepreneur. In other words, entrepreneurial skill is that necessary skill an individual needs to successfully run a business or add value to work. These entrepreneurial skills include: communication skills; creative/innovative skills; decision-making skills; problem-solving skills; planning and organizing skills; risk management skills; self management skills; technological/technical skills; teamwork skills; learning skills; initiative skills; enterprise skills; financial skills; managerial skills, marketing/saleable skills; interpersonal relationship skills; integrity skills; practical skills; assertiveness skills; leadership skills; listening skills; openness to change and business identification skills (Edith Cowan University, 2013), (de Oliveira 2008), (precision consultancy 2007). Graduates need these employability skills to be able to work in private business enterprises thereby making it possible for prospective graduates to be intrapreneurs in private business enterprises and also to be managers of their own businesses after graduation. 

Figure 2. Employability Skills as a Subset of Entrepreneurial Skill.

Source: Edith Cowan University, 2013.

The table above illustrates the importance of entrepreneurial skills. This implies that entrepreneurship education inculcates both entrepreneurial and employability skills into the students thereby equipping them with the requisite knowledge and tools with which to face the challenges of getting suitable jobs or setting up their own businesses.

Available literature suggests that employability skills are subsumed in entrepreneurial skills and since policy intention is to reduce unemployment, interest naturally increased in inculcating in youths entrepreneurial skills which are believed to automatically affect unemployment. Extant literature, (Chiaha, Eze & Agu, 2008), (De Oliveira 2008) and (Chiaha & Agu, 2013), seem to agree that entrepreneurship education can inculcate entrepreneurial skills hence the mandate given to every university in Nigeria to offer entrepreneurship education.

Most universities in Nigeria, as a result, now offer entrepreneurship education, mainly guided in their operations by a curriculum developed by the National Universities Commission (NUC). Some experts have questioned whether the NUC-tailored entrepreneurship education curriculum has the appropriate contents to impart effectively the desired entrepreneurial skills in undergraduates. This study therefore critically examines the role of entrepreneurship education in the enhancement of entrepreneurial skills among undergraduates through training programmes provided at the centres for entrepreneurship studies in federal Universities in South-Eastern Nigeria. 

Statement of the Problem

The population in Nigeria has been on steady increase and job opportunities are getting leaner and leaner especially for graduates. The implication is that, unemployable graduates are scattered all over the country, causing problems. Additionally, university education in Nigeria has had a tremendous expansion with increasing number of graduates, but then, most of these graduates are unemployed because they do not have the right and required skills to be self employed or be employed. The situation of graduate unemployment has resulted in youth restiveness in the form of kidnapping, prostitution, armed robbery, political thuggery and advanced fee fraud. A proper appraisal of the situation shows that most of these graduates engage in these activities because they lack requisite skills that enhance self employment. Lack of employability skills resulting from inadequate and obsolete skill training in the universities in South- Eastern Nigeria for the past few years has thrown some university graduates into the labour market in search of jobs. This pathetic situation prompted the establishment of the entrepreneurship development centres for the purpose of inculcating entrepreneurial skills in prospective graduates. This implies that if the existing educational programmes and practices in our universities can enable students to acquire adequate skills and talents required by employers and also as self-employed individuals, these students would not often be unemployed upon graduation from university.

 Most authors have argued that entrepreneurship education imbues students with requisite entrepreneurial skills thereby empowering them for self reliance and this enhances the reduction in crimes often attributed to them. Following the implicit trust by policy makers that entrepreneurship education as presently configured can impact significant entrepreneurial traits in undergraduates, this study investigates the appropriateness and veracity of this trust. The study therefore critically examined the impact of entrepreneurship education on the enhancement of entrepreneurial skills among undergraduates through training programmes provided at the centres for entrepreneurship studies in Federal Universities in South-Eastern Nigeria.

Purpose of the Study

The major purpose of the study is to identify the role entrepreneurship education plays in the enhancement of entrepreneurial skills among undergraduates. Specifically, the study seeks to: 

1) Determine the extent to which entrepreneurship education curriculum content inculcates entrepreneurial skills in undergraduates.

2) Find out the extent to which entrepreneurship education pedagogies are being utilized for the enhancement of entrepreneurial skills in students.

3) Find out the extent to which resource persons are used for the enhancement of entrepreneurial skills among undergraduates.

4) Find out the extent to which facilities are being put in place for the enhancement of entrepreneurial skills among undergraduates.

Significance of the Study

This study has both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, the work will be anchored on the cognitive approach theory as espoused by Taylor (1998).  Cognitive theory assumes that individuals do not possess a perfect knowledge of the world because there is too much information out there to handle. As a consequence they have to select information and interpret them, based on their previous experiences and so see the world differently. This theory explains why people engage in an entrepreneurial behavior. Thus, the social environment is of primary importance to foster future entrepreneurs. The general idea is that, individuals will activate their entrepreneurial potential if there are environmental possibilities and also if they have social support. The environmental possibility in question is the teaching of entrepreneurship education. This means that with entrepreneurship education, individual’s entrepreneurial potentials and skills are enhanced thereby, enabling them develop skills that will be of great benefit to them and their society.  

Applying this theory to our work, it becomes pertinent that the teaching and learning of entrepreneurship education through the Entrepreneurship Development Centres of South-Eastern universities releases the entrepreneurial potentials of students thereby enabling them to secure jobs after school or at best, becoming self-employed through the establishment of their own businesses through the plethora of knowledge and skills they may have acquired during their stay in school.   

Practically, the work will be of immense benefit to university students, lecturers, National Universities Commission (NUC), policy makers, the government, scholars and researchers and the society at large. Firstly, the findings of the study would be of great importance to university students and the unemployed youths such that it will expose them to various entrepreneurial skills which are acquired through entrepreneurship education and  will  in turn, enable them develop these skills to be entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. The study will as well be of importance to the employed and the potential graduates who are expected to evaluate themselves and become aware of the expectations of employers and the demands of their potential jobs and as well, see the need for in-service education. Secondly, the results of this study would be useful to the NUC and the curriculum planners in reviewing the curriculum of degree programmes established in the universities. Thirdly, the federal and state ministries of education will benefit from the information elicited from the findings of this study for appropriate educational decision making, especially in terms of personnel training and development, as well as providing the needed machines/ equipment and other facilities required for the acquisition of the needed skills for employment. 

Furthermore, the findings of the study would be useful to university lecturers and other lecturers involved in teaching entrepreneurship education courses. This will afford them proper direction with regard to the specific objectives as well as the appropriate pedagogies to be utilized. Lecturers will also see the need to get re-trained and then submit themselves for in-service education. The society at large stands to benefit from the study as most university graduates could be engaged daily in a job and as a result, reduce some social vices and other criminal activities, which result from graduate unemployment and idleness. Lastly, the work will be of immense benefit to scholars and researchers because, it will stimulate further research in the area.

Scope of the Study

The scope of the study was delimited to Federal universities in south-eastern Nigeria due to the fact that entrepreneurship development centres are established in them. Content wise, the study examined the entrepreneurial skills as well as entrepreneurship education curriculum, entrepreneurship education pedagogies, the resource persons and facilities which form the major components of this study.

Research Questions

The following research questions have been formulated to guide the study:

1) To what extent does entrepreneurship education curriculum inculcate entrepreneurial skills in undergraduates?

2) To what extent are the entrepreneurship education pedagogies utilized for enhancement of entrepreneurial skills in students?

3) To what extent are resource persons used for the enhancement of entrepreneurial skills among undergraduates?

4) To what extent are facilities put in place for the enhancement of entrepreneurial skills among undergraduates?

Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses are formulated to guide the study and will be tested at 0.05 level of significance.

H01: There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of male and female students of federal universities on the extent entrepreneurship education curriculum inculcates entrepreneurial skills in undergraduates.

H02: There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of male and female students of federal universities on the extent entrepreneurship education pedagogies are utilized for the enhancement of entrepreneurial skills in students.

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION AND THE ENHANCEMENT OF ENTREPRENEURIAL SKILLS AMONG UNDERGRADUATES


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