ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION AND ITS INFLUENCE ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF NIGERIA
The review of related literature was done under the following sub-headings: Conceptual Review,
Theoretical Framework, Empirical Review and Summary of Literature Review of Entrepreneurship Education And Its Influence On The Development Of Nigeria.
Economic development through entrepreneurial education has become a major concern of all well- meaning countries of the world. There are a number of programmes and policies tailored towards the development of entrepreneurial mind-set among people from all walks of life in these countries. These programmes include both structured and unstructured ones. Entrepreneurship is becoming a focal point for the various economies of the world as a result of its potency to greatly influence economic growth and development through entrepreneurial drive and persistence (Kuratko, 2009).
Nigeria cannot sit back and watch other nations make progress in the common quest for economic independence; being able to deal with the problem of unemployment, poverty and other related socio- economic challenges. The fact that Nigeria has remained a developing economy for this long has even made urgent, the need to fully embrace the ‘letter and spirit’ of entrepreneurship by all individuals and institutions.
To be referenced as:
Ogedengbe, F. A., Okhakhu, C. O., & Adekunle, S. A. (2015). Entrepreneurial education for sustainable development.
Nigerian Journal of Management Sciences, 4(1), 78-87.
Accordingly, poverty eradication and employment generation have been top priorities of many governments and institutions in developing countries (MDGs report in Garba, 2010). These problems appear to be getting worse by the day as hundreds of thousands of graduates are churned out annually from the various Nigerian institutions of higher learning. As if to compound the problem, there appears to be a disconnect between the various theoretical knowledge accumulated in school and the practical realities of such knowledge. This paper addresses the need for proper tailoring of Nigerian education system towards a sustainable entrepreneurship development.
This paper does this under the following subheadings: introduction, meaning of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial education with its objectives, history of entrepreneurship in relation to Nigeria, educational policy and entrepreneurship, various theories of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship development efforts in Nigeria, examination of challenges and possible solutions to entrepreneurship education and development, policy implication, recommendations and conclusion.
2.2 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
Entrepreneurship has been defined variously by different authors. The concept is seen as the dynamic process of creating wealth by individuals who assume the risks involved in providing value for some products and/or services (Kuratko, 2009); “the process of performing the roles of planning, operating and assuming the risk of a business venture,” (Inegbenebor & Igbinomwanhia, 2010); “the pursuit of lucrative opportunities by enterprising individuals… (being) inherently about innovation – creating a new venture where one didn’t exist before,” (Bateman & Snell, 2011); the process of creating value through the provision of some products or services for the benefit of the society, while learning the skills needed to assume the risk of establishing a business (Ahiauzu, 2009; Inegbenebor, 2006).
From the above definitions, it is clear that the concept of entrepreneurship development is a process which could be considered to begin with knowledge and skill accumulation to sufficiently predispose the individual learner to entrepreneurial pursuit. This, of course, is the focus of this paper – to establish the link between entrepreneurial education and sustainable development.
Meaning of Entrepreneurship Education
Entrepreneurial education is focused on developing youths as well as individuals with passion and multiple skills (Izedonmi & Okafor, 2010). It aims to reduce the risks associated with entrepreneurship thought and guide the enterprise successfully through its initial stage to the maturity stage. According to Brown (2000), entrepreneurial education is designed to communicate and inculcate competencies, skills and values needed to recognize business opportunity, organize and start new business venture. Gorman, Hanlon and King (1997) pointed out that entrepreneurship education is an educational programme that is focused on impacting students with issues on entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship education has to do with encouraging, inspiring children, youths and elders on how to be independent both in thinking and creativity in business (Samson, 1999 in Mandara, 2012).
Objectives of Entrepreneurship Education
Entrepreneurship education is important because it is an education and training that empower students to develop and use their creativity to initiate responsibilities and risks. According to Paul (2005), entrepreneurship education aims at achieving the following objectives; to: offer functional education to the youths that will enable them to be self-employed and self-reliant; provide the youth or graduates with adequate training that will enable them to be creative and innovative in identifying novel business opportunities; serve as a catalyst for economic growth and development; offer tertiary institution graduates adequate training in risk
management; reduce high rate of poverty; create employment opportunities; reduce rural-urban drift; provide the young graduates with enough training and support that will enable them to establish careers in small and medium sized businesses; inculcate the spirit of perseverance in the youths and adults which will enable them to persist in any business venture they embark on; and create smooth transition from traditional to a modern industrial economy.
Brief History of Entrepreneurship in Nigeria
The term ‘entrepreneur’ is said to have been introduced by the early 18th century French economist, Richard Cantillon, who defined the entrepreneur as the agent who buys means of production at certain prices in order to combine them into a new product. Yomere (2009) opined that when the concept of entrepreneurship first appeared, it was understood to have special characteristics and requires exceptional ability of special people. The phase championed by Jean-Baptist Say described an entrepreneur as someone who shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield (Say, in Yomere, 2009). Kuratko (2009) has asserted, with respect to America, that from the little beginning of those early days, “… academic field of entrepreneurship has evolved dramatically over the last 35 years”
Here in Nigeria, entrepreneurial prowess of notable personalities was well recognized early enough. Some pre-colonial commercial heroes and entrepreneurial gurus in the Niger Delta, such as King Jaja of Opobo and Governor Nana Olomu of Itsekiri dictated business tune for that era (Siaka, 2010). It was in reaction to their policies that the African Association was formed in 1889, which was to become the United African Company (UAC) in 1929. Since then, a number of successful entrepreneurs have emerged in Nigeria among whom are: Aliko Dangote, Mike Adenuga, Frank Nneji owner of ABC Transport, Isaac Durojaiye founder of DMT, Ekenedili Chukwu, Olorogun Michael Ibru, Chief Obafewo Makun Joseph, Chief F. Edo- Osagie, John Edokpolor and others. However, in the midst of this huge expansion in entrepreneurial principles and practice, there remains the challenge of teaching entrepreneurship more effectively.
Educational Policy in Nigeria and Entrepreneurship
Expectedly, the history of Nigerian education system is traceable to the colonial era. According to Aladekomo in Garba (2010); “… the educational policy then was geared towards serving the interest of the colonial masters in terms of supply of manpower for their effective administration of Nigeria Colony….” The policy was, undoubtedly, aimed at producing Nigerians who could read and write to become clerks, inspectors and the likes without any entrepreneurial skill to stand on their own or even establish and manage their own ventures. It has been asserted that there was a neglect of entrepreneurial development, especially at the micro level as the education policy of colonial and the immediate post-colonial governments emphasized a fitting for ‘white collar’ jobs (Garba, 2010). Incidentally, getting these jobs was not a problem then, as numerous job openings awaited the yet-to-graduate Nigerians.
However, as economic realities began to unfold, the Nigerian government decided to encourage the informal industrial sector by establishing institutions like Nigeria Industrial Bank (NIB), Nigeria Agricultural and Cooperative Bank (NACB), and many others. Two of such policies worth-looking at are discussed below: National Policy on Education (1981): No doubt, Nigeria was beginning to grapple with the reality of insufficient placements for the emerging vast army of unemployed youths. Hence, the attempt was made to link the 1981 policy with emphasis on self employment. However, this policy has been criticized for having a focus only on the primary and post-primary education. What this meant was that Nigerians who could proceed to tertiary institutions were not to be so shaped for self development. The higher education policy was left to develop both middle and higher levels manpower for the ‘supposed’ industries. In an attempt to find solution
for the lingering problems, technical and vocational studies received a boost from the government in recent times.
National Policy on Education (2004): Emphasis was focused on technical and vocational education in this policy. Attention was given to these areas by the Federal and State governments. Garba (2010) observed that this commitment was demonstrated by the establishment of different institutions to offer programmes leading to the acquisition of practical and applied skills. He summarized the aims of technical education as follows: providing trained manpower in applied science, technology and commerce, particularly at sub-professional grades; providing the technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for agricultural, industrial, commercial and economic development; raising people who can apply scientific knowledge to the improvement and solution of environmental problems for the use and convenience of man; giving an introduction to professional studies in engineering and other technology; giving training and impacting the necessary skills leading to the production of craftsmen, technicians and other skilled personnel who will be enterprising and self-reliant; and enabling young men and women to have an intelligent understanding of the increasing complexity of technology.
On the basis of this policy, Fakae in Garba (2010) stated that “emphasis is on skill-acquisition and sound scientific knowledge, which gives ability to the use of hand and machine for the purpose of production, maintenance and self-reliant [sic].” It is noteworthy that these policies, notwithstanding, the Nigerian problem of unemployment has remained largely unabated. To this end, it appears that emphasis on technical and vocational education may not be the ‘glorified’ panacea to the problem. Hence, entrepreneurship education, as a way out, has spread rapidly in Universities and Polytechnics across the world and Nigeria is not left behind. In the words of Inegbenebor (2012), “Nigerian Universities have committed themselves to producing entrepreneurial graduates as their contribution to stimulating private sector growth in Nigeria.” The summary of objectives pursued by these various institutions, as stated by Inegbenebor (2012) include; to: change the perception of students of entrepreneurship by introducing them to the nature, role and scope of entrepreneurship; show students how to behave entrepreneurially; and build skills in various areas such as negotiation, networking, new products development, creative thinking, sources of ventures capital, entrepreneurial career options and the likes.
This points to the fact that there is a growing role education is expected to play in building entrepreneurial capacity, especially in Nigeria. This is corroborated in Yomere (2009) thus: “there is agreement among scholars that entrepreneurship education is vital in developing entrepreneurial attitudes, abilities and related skills in youths.” What is left is tailoring the various curricula to deliver the much needed results.
Theories of Entrepreneurship
There have been various theories that explain the principles and practice of entrepreneurship. Most of these theories represent the main thrusts of the entrepreneurial views of the proponents.
In all, they represent how entrepreneurship may be considered for teaching, research and practice. As presented in Abdullahi (2009), some of these theories are briefly discussed, hereunder:
o Schumpeter’s Theory: This approach, developed by David Schumpeter in 1934, identified innovation as a function specific to all entrepreneurs. This theory opined that economic activities occur through a dynamic process of the business cycle. The supply of entrepreneurship, according to this theory is a function of the rate of profit and the social climate, which is to say that a vibrant profitable economy encourages entrepreneurship while a depressed economy discourages entrepreneurship. Mbaegbu in Abdullahi (2009) considered social climate as comprising educational system, the social values, the class structure, the nature
and extent of prestige and other rewards that accompany business success and the attitude of society towards business success. One important thing here is that, if a purposeful and qualitative policy on education is pursued for skill acquisition, Schumpeter’s Theory will encourage entrepreneurship.
o Inkele’s and Smith’s Need to Improve Theory: This theory identifies disposition to accept new ideas and try new methods, a time sense that makes a person more interested in the present and future than in the past as altitudes which directly or indirectly affect entrepreneurship development. People with these characteristics are considered more disposed to entrepreneurial activities than those without such characteristics.
o Drucker’s Creative Imitation Theory: The approach views entrepreneurship differently from the Schumpeterian view. To the creative imitation theorist, entrepreneurs in the less developed countries merely imitate the products and production process that have been invented in the developed countries rather than being truly innovators. The underlining factor in this theory is change – a search for response to and exploitation of it as an opportunity.
o The Economic Survival Theory: The theory explains that entrepreneurship is favoured by those affected by certain unpalatable situations of life. This is also in line with the Shapero’s life path change model of new venture creation, which considers these situations as push factors. Hence, for survival, such people whose jobs are terminated, are victims of discrimination, are widowed/divorced or are dissatisfied take easily to entrepreneurship.
A critical look at the theories reveals that the Economic Survival Theory is the most applicable in Nigeria where government is vigorously pushing the idea of entrepreneurship to solve the incessant problem of unemployment bedevilling the country. Although it is good to use the teaching and practice of entrepreneurship as a tool for tackling the problem of unemployment, greater effort should be made to instil the spirit of innovativeness and creativity in individuals in all sectors of the economy which is the hallmark of entrepreneurship so that they can perform optimally in their various endeavours.
Entrepreneurship Development in Nigeria
Entrepreneurial development may be conceived as a programme of activities to enhance the knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes of individuals and groups to assume the role of entrepreneurs as well as efforts to remove all forms of barriers in the path of entrepreneurs. It is anchored on the firm belief that entrepreneurship involves a body of knowledge, skills and attitudes which can be learned and applied by most people who are sufficiently motivated. In contrast to the idea that entrepreneurs are born, entrepreneurship development recognises that many individuals have latent potential to fit into the role of entrepreneurs. Such potentials can be actualised through training programme (Inegbenebor, 1999). Entrepreneurship development assumes that through the process of learning, these characteristics or pattern can be acquired by anyone who is adequately motivated. Similarly, individuals can learn to deal with socio-cultural constraints and inhibitions prevalent in growing economies. Entrepreneurs can be trained also on how to establish and maintain effective relationship with financial institutions, suppliers, government agencies, and other critical institutions upon which they depend for information, guidance and inputs. It is possible to achieve all these through business counselling and by providing relevant information (Inegbenebor, 1999).
Entrepreneurial Development Teaching Focus
The focal point of entrepreneurial education around the world will definitely assume different perspective. However, certain aspects of learning entrepreneurship appear to be favoured everywhere and by virtually all scholars. Yomere (2009) asserted that “entrepreneurship education in higher institutions is based on the formulation of course structures whose learning methods vary considerably from lectures, presentations,
hand-outs and case study.” He identified teaching and monitoring students on how to write a business plan as one of the firmly entrenched curriculum formats.
However, the nature of entrepreneurship, especially the level of complexity and ambiguity with which entrepreneurial activities are carried out, demands a total immersion of the entrepreneur, which goes beyond and is more involving than the conventional business planning. To this end, factors such as: the entrepreneurial mind-set, environmental opportunities, precipitating events, unique business concept, support from others and resource accessibility are critical and should be the focal point of entrepreneurial development teaching. Therefore, teaching should be focused on developing entrepreneurial characteristics such as creativity, resourcefulness, drive to achieve, ability to take calculated risks among others. Environmental scanning for opportunity identification and ability to access and assemble the needed resources should be given priority in the same vein. Attention is then shifted to skill acquisition which, when applied, will enable the intending entrepreneur differentiate business idea from business opportunity. This will help to reduce the stagnation encountered by many who are unable to appreciate this important difference to determine the feasibility of their ventures. In practical terms, however, there seems to be inadequate hand-on experiences in entrepreneurship teaching structure.
Contribution of Entrepreneurship in a Developing Economy – Nigeria in Focus
The overriding attribute of a developing economy is poverty and the inability to provide for the basic needs of the population. Other characteristics of such economy are: low average real income and a low growth rate of per capita income, low level of technology, low level of productivity, low life expectancy, inadequate health services among others (Inegbenebor & Igbinomwanhia, 2010). In this kind of economy, catering satisfactorily for the economic, social and other basic needs of the population is a dire challenge.[email protected][email protected]