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Entrepreneurship Education

September 10, 2011




Entrepreneurs are not born rather they become through the experience of their lives. Through effective entrepreneurship education, people can access the skills and knowledge needed to start and grow a new business. This paper therefore, examined the importance of entrepreneurship education towards ensuring sustainable development in Nigeria. The challenges facing us as a nation range form high rate of poverty; youth and graduate unemployment; over dependence on foreign goods and technology; low economic growth and development; high standard of living; poor infrastructural facilities among others. This paper argues that entrepreneurship education will aid the students with the skills with which to be self-reliant and becoming job creators. The objectives; why entrepreneurship education and strategies for redesigning entrepreneurship education are also discussed. This paper also recommended among other things that the government should give adequate attention to entrepreurial development in the country in order to bring about improved economic growth.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship Education, Sustainable Development

Entrepreneurship education seeks to prepare people, especially youths, to be responsible, enterprising individuals who become entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial thinkers and who contribute to economic development and sustainable communities. The need for entrepreneurship education started emerging in the mid 1980s. In the mid 80s, the Nigeria economic collapsed while youth and graduate unemployment hit the roof. There was large-scale layoff of workers and retirements as a result of structural Adjustment Programmes and bad economic trends in the country. During this situation, entrepreneurship, which would have salvaged the situation, was not encouraged. It has been observed that tertiary education has not been properly include philosophy of self-reliance such as creating a new cultural and productive environment that will promote pride in primitive work and self-discipline, encouraging people to actively and freely take part in discussion and decision affecting their general welfare, promoting new set of attitudes and culture for the attainment of future challenges (Arogundade, 2011)
Nwangwu (2007) argued that the failure of tertiary education to imbibe the above philosophy in students has led to wastages in terms of both human and natural resources. This is because the youths and graduates form tertiary intuitions are not equipped with the skills with which to exploit the natural resources that abound in Nigeria. Ayodele (2006) identified among other factors hindering entrepreneurship in the country such as inadequate capital; unhealthy and unstable macro-economic environment; fear of the people to take risk on entrepreneurial activities and government policies are not designed to promote entrepreneurship.

Conceptual Framework.
Entrepreneurship Education Defined
Entrepreneurship Education is not just about teaching someone to run a business. It is all about encouraging creative thinking and promoting a strong sense of self-work and accountability. Through entrepreneurship education, students learn how to create a business, but they also learn a lot more.
According to Shephered and Douglas (1997) defined Entrepreneurship education as the essence of entrepreneurship is the ability to envision and chart a course for a new business venture by combing information from the functional discipline and from the external environment in the context of the extra ordinary uncertainty and ambiguity which faces a new business venture. Entrepreneurship education can be, according to the distinction made by Laukkannen (2000) in Education “about” Entrepreneurship and education “for” entrepreneurship. The first is based on the construct and transference of knowledge about the field, while the second focuses on the learning experience and the development of competencies, skills, aptitudes and values. Therefore, the teaching methods used in each of these areas are not the same.
What is Sustainable Development?
Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present generations to meet their own needs (Minzer, 1992). Sustainable development implies economic growth together with the protection of environmental quality, each enforcing the other. The essence of this form of development is a stable relationship between human activities and the natural world, which does not diminish the prospects for future generations to enjoy a quality of life at least as good as our own. The concept of sustainable requires balancing environmental, societal and economic considerations in the pursuit of development and an improved quality of life.
Who is an Entrepreneur?
In takes special skills such as knowledge, attitudes and practices to succeed as an entrepreneur, according to Burges (1993). In addition to these occupational survival skills the entrepreneur has to be able to see business opportunities, be willing to take risks and be able to plan and follow through (Ekwue, 2008). Meredith (1983) defined an entrepreneur as a person(s) who possesses the ability to recognize and evaluate business opportunities, assemble the necessary resources to take advantage of them and take appropriate action to ensure success.
Objectives of Entrepreneurship Education
The Nigeria government, at the national and state levels has articulated the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) and State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (SEEDS) packages as part of a long term programmes to address gross unemployment and under employment, especially at post-graduation level. This programme, at maturity, is expected to power Nigeria economic growth through the development of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) (Idgho & Eshiotse, 2011). According to Paul (2005) argued that entrepreneurship education is aimed to achieve the following among others.
i. To offer functional education for the youth that will enable them to be self-employed and self-reliant.
ii. Provide the graduate youth with adequate training that will enable them to be creative and innovative in identifying novel business opportunities.
iii. To serve as a catalyst for economic growth and development.
iv. To reduce high rate of poverty
v. To create employment opportunities
vi. Reduction in rural-urban migration
vii. Provide the graduate youths with enough training and support that will enable them to establish a career in small and medium sized business
viii Create smooth transition form traditional to a modern industrial economy.
Why Entrepreneurship Education?
These limitations are unfortunate, because the benefits of entrepreneurship education for individuals, communities and the enter country are profound. The benefits include the following:
i. Entrepreneurship education inspires and motivates students to achieve while in school and use their knowledge in a real world setting.
ii. Entrepreneurship education improves school performance and can help achieve No Child Left Behind (NCLB) goals and the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measures.
iii. Entrepreneurship education builds a pipeline that creates productive and thoughtful citizens who contribute to local, states and national competitiveness.

Educational for Sustainable Development
Education for sustainable development is the focus of education that seeks to equip people towards creating a sustainable future. Stakeholders such as government, business, educational institution, media, and organizations play important roles in achieving sustainable development. Each of these sectors has a different venison of sustainable development. Some are interested in environmental preservation and protection; some have economic development interest while other may be more interested in social development. According to UNESCO (2000) the way each nation, cultural group and individual views sustainable development will depend on its own values.
In many European countries, universities and technical colleges trained student of science, economic and business management in skills that helps to build more sustainable societies. Programmes such as peace Education, Human Right Education, Environmental Education and Youth Entrepreneur schemes are carried out in many schools. Hence, such initiatives help students and teachers to gain an understanding of the inter-linkages needed for sustainable development. The emphasis has been on education that will provide life and occupational skills that will enhance the potentials of individual, reinforcing self-sufficiency and improving quality of life.
Entrepreneurship Education and Sustainable Development in Nigeria

The Nigerian government seems to have woken up to the reality that the country needs to break away from the vicious cycle of poverty, infrastructural neglect, corruption and other social vices. The reasoning been that, after fifty years of achieving independence, yet, Nigeria has not attained her optimum level of development. According to Kolawole and Omolayo (2006), many individuals have difficulties in translating their business ideals to realities and creating new business ventures because of lack of necessary information and skills needed to achieve their targets. To them, the university curriculum was in the past oriented towards making graduate suitable only for white-collar jobs. This underscores why millions of Nigerian youths and a lot of university graduates roam about the street of the major cities and towns in search of white-collar jobs, it is necessary and possible to position Nigeria universities to stimulate economic growth through a deliberate programme of production of entrepreneurial graduates.
In many countries, high schools offer entrepreneurship education for life-long trade. And many of them offer courses that enable student to meet their general academic requirement while learning a trade. However, because of the recent challenges in world economy today many schools have shifted emphasis to training in computers, information technology, and related fields. Public schools work closely with willing industrial to establish curriculum and programme to meet their skills demand where in Nigeria in this history of entrepreneurship education? No wonder why things are not working, as they should in Nigerian. The neglect of entrepreneurship education is rubbing nation of the contribution their graduate would make on the economy; the graduates could establish that roam the streets. It is, therefore socially injurious to neglect this important area or look down on its graduates. The society needs competed auto mechanics and truck drivers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, electronics and computers, database web and network technicians, bookkeeping, and clerks, medical technicians and nursing assistants, e.t.c to function well. These are some of the skills in short supply in Nigeria. The half-basked roadside mechanics in the society often cause more dangers to vehicles when they are contracted to service them. And because of poor training some of the commercial drivers on the road and nurses assistants in the hospitals have sent many people to their early grave. Given these facts, it in a disservice to the society to neglect entrepreneurship education. In Nigeria, graduates of vocational and technical institutions are highly skilled entrepreneur, but the society does not seem to encourage the youths to take this role. Unfortunately, those who influence education policy in the society feel that graduate of technical vocational institutions are not equal to university graduates; hence there is need for effective strategies for entrepreneurship education in Nigeria.
Strategies For Effective Entrepreneurship
In order to achieve viable entrepreneurship education that will enhance sustainable development in Nigeria, the following strategies according to Ayodele (2006) will help to alleviate the problem of entrepreneurship education in the country:
i. There should be some form of genuine schoolwork based learning incorporated in some studies as part of the national economic development strategies. The development of apprenticeship scheme would give new graduates some work skills and experience.
ii. Pool local public and private funds to create a small venture capital fund.
iii. School-based enterprises where students identify potential business, plan, create and operate small business using the school as mini-incubators.
iv. Provide small business schools where interested students and community members can participate.
v. Develop entrepreneur internship programmes matching students with locally successful entrepreneurs with clearly established education programmes.
vi. Establishing an enterprise college aimed at fostering the specific skill sets required for entrepreneurship to serve as skill acquisition center for the youths.
vii. Creating and economic friendly political environment.
viii. Improving on the government taxation on small-scale business.
Nigeria needs more educational programmes and faculty based on entrepreneurship, because Nigerian is lagging behind in preparing her workforce for the challenges of the rapidly changing global economy. It is concluded that improved and sustainable global economy development depends on a strong entrepreneurship education.
The following recommendations are proffered for effective entrepreneurship education in Nigeria.
1. Government and other stakeholders in education should make sure that educational programme at all levels of education are made relevant to provide the youths and graduates needed entrepreneurial skills.
2. Government should give adequate attention to entrepreneurial development in the country through the provision of good economic environment to encourage individual participation in business while this guaranteed entrepreneurship that will hence economic growth.
3. Nigeria’s federal and state education leaders should make entrepreneurship education a formal part of the Nigerian curriculum
4. Government should support and implement a nation wide “Entrepreneurship Week” that focuses on entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship education at the national, state and local levels.
5. Develop and finance an Entrepreneurship Education Innovation Fund that will provide small grants for innovative educational programs.
6. Our tertiary institutions should share information about entrepreneurship education and the creative programs that are emerging everywhere in the world. The field of entrepreneurship educations booming. We need to share the effective practices that are already working


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