Entrepreneurship Education in Nigerian Universities

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					   Entrepreneurship Education in Nigerian
Universities: Implementation and Way Forward


                Dr. R.O. Oduwaiye
       Department of Educational Management,
             University of Ilorin, Ilorin.
    Entrepreneurship Education in Nigerian
Universities: Implementation and Way Forward


      The demand for university education in Nigeria has made the
scope to enlarge in the recent past. Teeming Nigerian youths leave
the universities as job seekers, whereas one of the cardinal goals of
higher education in the country is to enable the individuals to be self
reliant. In line with this, a presidential directive was given that all the
Nigerian universities should pursue and design a programme on
entrepreneurial studies for undergraduate students. This paper set out
to examine the course synopsis of the entrepreneurial studies.
Operations of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE),
established by the Federal Government of Nigeria, to help the youth in
their endeavour to be self reliant was studied. This was to find out the
level of graduate participation in the Scheme. Finally, the paper
conducted a survey on the perceptions of selected undergraduates to
determine their opinions on becoming an entrepreneur. 62% of the
respondents agreed that they would like to be self reliant rather than
seeking for employment, while 82% of the respondents believed that
entrepreneurship education can help prepare them for
entrepreneurship in order to eradicate or alleviate poverty. It was then
recommended, among others, that the entrepreneurial studies should
be more practical oriented rather than theoretical while loans for the
entrepreneurs should be better facilitated through the government and
selected banks.

     Nigeria‟s erstwhile educational system was inherited from the
British Colonial Government. The system trained students, through
Grammar Schools, in preparation for white-collar jobs. A review of the
Nigerian educational system took place in cognizance of the fact that
even Britain which imposed the system had refined hers to foster
social, industrial and technological development. In response to the
much needed development, through education, in Nigeria, there was
the National Curriculum Conference in 1968. This later gave birth to
the 6-3-3-4 system of education in 1973. That system of education
was designed to give every Nigerian a chance to contribute his worth
to the nation‟s development, at the level commensurate to his mental
ability. Furthermore, the system was planned to eradicate illiteracy
after six years in primary school. The first three years in secondary
school was supposed to arm the students with some skills, while those
not academically inclined could move to learn one trade or the other
to acquire vocational skill; which would prepare them for self reliance.
On the other hand, the academically endowed ones could continue
with the next three years of senior secondary school, and if found
qualified, they could proceed to four (or more) years of tertiary
     The dwindling ratio of the so-called white-collar jobs when
compared to the rate of turnout of graduates at all levels of education
soon made it necessary for successive government to introduce
palliative measures. The Federal Military Government in 1976
introduced the Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) Scheme, which faded

out after sometimes. Successive Military Government in 1985
introduced Mass Mobilisation for Self Reliance and Economic Recovery
(MAMSER) and National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to address
the issue of graduate unemployment but recorded very minimal
success. The erstwhile Civilian Governments retained the NDE and
introduced the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP).
These two programmes are still in operation in Nigeria. All these
measures so far have proved to be grossly ineffective in solving the
problem of graduate unemployment which have assumed critical
dimension, especially due to the proliferation of both public and
private tertiary institutions.
      The need to ensure that the present effort at turning out
graduates, who will not only be self reliant but employers of labour
cannot be over emphasized. In order to achieve this, the Federal
Government, through the National Universities Commission (NUC),
introduced Entrepreneurship Education (E.E), which is aimed at
equipping    students     with   entrepreneurial   skills,   attitudes   and
competencies in order to be job providers and not job seekers. This is
to improve the economic, technological and industrial development of
the nation and reduce poverty.

Concept of Entrepreneurship
      Entrepreneurship education is that education which assists
students to develop positive attitudes, innovation and skills for self
reliance, rather than depending on the government for employment.
This will produce graduates with self confidence and capacities for

independent thought to discover new information leading to economic
development (Emetaron and Obunadike 2008). Agu (2006) opined
that entrepreneurship education is the type of education designed to
change the orientation and attitude of the recipients, and in the
process will equip him with the skills and knowledge to enable him
start and manage a business enterprise. This type of education aims
at   developing   the   requisite   entrepreneurial   skills,   attitudes
competences and dispositions that will predispose the individual to be
a driving force in managing a business. Emetaron and Obunadike
(2008) described Entrepreneurship education as that which deals with
those attitudes and skills that are necessary for the individual to
respond to his environment in the process of conserving, starting and
managing a business enterprise. This is based on the fact that some
basic attitudes and skills are essential for an individual to respond
positively to his environment and explore its potentials. This implies
that Entrepreneurship Education (E.E) prepares the individual to be
properly equipped to acquire saleable skills which could be used to
manage his own business or that of other person.
     Entrepreneurship Education (E.E) is not a prerogative of some
set of people but an education that that is open to all. This is why
there was the clamour for the introduction of E.E into the universities‟
curriculum to prepare students for entrepreneurship life after
graduation. Its noted by Akpomi (2009), that E.E focuses on
developing understanding and capacity for pursuit of entrepreneurial
behaviours, skills and attitudes in widely different contexts. This type
of education is open to all and not exclusively the domain of the high-

flying growth-seeking business person. The propensity to behave
entrepreneurially is not exclusive to certain individuals. Different
individuals will have a different mix of capabilities for demonstrating
and acquiring entrepreneurial behaviours skills and attitudes. These
behaviours can be practiced, developed and learned; therefore it is
important to expose all students to entrepreneurship education
(Akpomi, 2009).
       Entrepreneurship has to do with introduction of changes and
new ideas and the ability to control resources in a way that will satisfy
the objectives of the entrepreneur. In doing this, there is a need to
develop some attitudes and skills which, according to Aig‟Imoulhuede
(1988) and corroborated by Okada (2000), is based on:
(i)    Positive attitudes, high aptitude for rational critical thinking and
       timely decision-making.
(ii)   Clear vision, generation of progressive ideals drive and passion
       for success.
(iii) Ability to convert vision into concrete reality.
(iv) Creativity, innovativeness, courageousness and self confidence.
(v)    Ability to assume reasonable risk.
(vi) Mercurial        ingenuity,   resourcefulness       patience   and/or
       opportunities insight.
(vii) Confidence and good judgement which involves taking decisions
       and making choices.
(viii) Prudence which means due care in the management of resources
       especially financial.

(ix) Wiliness to learn should develop a disposition to pick up and
      store knowledge and use it.
(x)   Hard work which is an indispensable ingredient of success in
      business and other sectors.

Entrepreneural Studies
      The Senate of the University of Ilorin, along with other
Universities in Nigeria and in accordance with the directive of the
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2004 that every Nigeria
University should pursue a programme for every undergraduate to
partake in a course in entrepreneural studies introduced a course, with
Code Number GSE 301, titled “Graduate Self Employment (GSE)”. The
programme took off in the University in the 2008/2009 academic
session. The course synopsis is identification of the nature, purpose
and scope of business. It also includes basic principles of feasibility
report writing, financial acquisition and management, resource
management, elements of marketing skills acquisition for selected
prototype enterprises. To expose the students to practical aspects, the
course includes evolving programme for the development and
inculcation of entrepreneural and innovative attitude in all students
through participation in two or three activities apart from those related
to their areas of discipline. The activities centre on such trades as tye
and dye, pot making, fruit canning, table water production, cloth
weaving, soap/detergent/cosmetics production, fish farming, snail
farming, poultry, food processing, bread making, fashion designing,

interior   decoration,    printing,   wood/metal      work,    restaurant
management, forex trading.
      It was observed that since the take off of the course, the
lecturers from the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences, who handle
the course, had been teaching the theoretical aspect very well. The
course synopsis had been well covered, especially feasibility report
writing which is core to establishing an entrepreneur. However, the
practical activities which the students are to participate in two or three
had not been taken because, according to the Director of Technical &
Entrepreneurship Centre (TEC), in the University of Ilorin, there are no
artisans to take the activities and likewise there are no facilities or
centres for these activities. The Centre is barely two years old and skill
need time to develop.

Student’s Perceptions on Participation in Entrepreneurship
after graduation
      This study employed a survey research design. The population
for the study comprised of the final year students in the University of
Ilorin and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso. The
sample was based on 200 students randomly selected from each
      An instrument, tagged: “Students‟ Perceptions on Participating in
Entrepreneurship Questionnaire” was used to collect data for the
study. The instrument had nine structured items. In items 6, 7 and 9
the respondent had either a “yes” or “no” answer while in items 1, 2,

3, 4, 5 and 8, respondents had to pick between one of alternative
answers. The data collected were analysed, using simple percentage.

Student’s Perceptions on Participation in Entrepreneurship
after Graduation
Q/N     Questionnaire Items                                Responses
                                                                  No   %
1.    When         I       leave     the Self employment         132   66
      university, I would like to Government                      68   34
      be self employed or take
      up     a    government        paid
2.    What             type           of Food & Beverage         44    22
      entrepreneurship             would Telephone               30    15
      you like to venture into?            Oil & Gas             28    14
      Food & Beverages, Oil & Fashion & Design                    10   5
      Gas,       Fashion     designing, Hotel & Catering         32    16
      Hotel & Catering, Private Engineering                      10    5
      School/Hospital,         Farming Private School            10    5
      etc.                                 Hospital              10    5
                                           Farming               10    5
                                           Yet to decide         16    8
3.    What motivates you to go Self reliant                      64    32
      into entrepreneurship?               Unemployment          76    38
      Self       reliance,     Poverty, Poverty                  60    30

Q/N     Questionnaire Items                               Responses
                                                                    No   %
4.    How do you hope to raise Bank loan                        22       11
      capital?                          Cooperative Soc.        64       32
      Bank, Cooperative Society Family & Friends                    22   11
      Family & Friends etc.             Personal effort         78       39
                                        Yet to decide           14       7
5.    Would you prefer to go into One man business              124      62
      one-man            business   or Partnership              76       38
6.    Have         you      taken   an Yes                     164       82
      entrepreneurship course in No                             36       18
      your University?
7.    The           Entrepreneurship Adequate                   44       22
      training programme of your Inadequate                     156      78
      university is adequate.
8     If you think the programme Too theoretical               120       60
      in (6) above is inadequate, Inadequate facility           36       18
      give reasons.                     No artisan             44        22
9.    Do     you    think    that   the Yes                    164       82
      entrepreneurship                  No                     36        18
      programme can eradicate
      poverty and unemployment
      in Nigeria?

      The   findings   of   the   study     showed    that    66%    of   the
undergraduates wanted to be self reliant after graduation. This means
that undergraduates in Nigerian universities have high propensity for
entrepreneurship skills. The results also showed that 32% of the
factors that motivated the respondents to want to go into
entrepreneurship was the need to be self reliant while 68% of the
factors were due to the fear unemployment and poverty. It was also
found that 62% of the respondents wanted to be a sole proprietor,
while 38% wanted to go into partnership. In assessing the level at
which undergraduates have been equipped with entrepreneurial skills
and knowledge, 82% of the respondents indicated that they had taken
some courses in entrepreneurship in their respective institutions and
that about 78% observed that the programme was adequate to equip
them to manage a business after graduation. However, 18% of the
respondents observed that the programme was adequate. It was
inadequate because it was too theoretical, while there were
inadequate facilities and no artisans for handling the practicals.
      On eradication of poverty in Nigeria, 82% of the respondents
indicated   that   entrepreneurship       could   eradicate   poverty     and
unemployment in the country.

National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Involvement in
Graduate Entrepreneurship
      The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) was established
in 1986. Graduate unemployment which was unnoticed in the early
1980‟s began to rise steadily and rapidly till date to the extent that

nearly every home has one or more unemployed graduate. NDE was
given mandate to intervene, especially on Skills Acquisition and
Entrepreneurship Development Training. To a large extent NDE
started following its mandate. It counsels the unemployed for
attitudinal reorientation towards self employment and self-reliance. It
engages youths, who after secondary school were willing to be trained
to acquire skills. For instance, by 2007 NDE had been able to create
transient    jobs,       engage   in open apprenticeship    scheme,   rural
employment promotion like Agricultural programmes, small scale
enterprises, etc. By the end of 2007, NDE had empowered 66,952
Nigerian youths in various entrepreneurships (FRN, 2008) Data for the
graduate involvement was not available since it was not separated
from other participants, but suffice to note that many graduates are
gradually getting involved even though the participation is said to be
low compared to the school leavers (FRN, 2008).

Way Forward
     There is no gainsaying the fact that entrepreneurship is the
solution to unemployment and poverty among Nigerian youths and
graduates. The Federal Government of Nigeria has taken the bull by
the horn in establishing the National Directorate of Employment
(NDE),      initiating     the    National   Economic   Empowerment   and
Development Strategy (NEEDS), and recently the Entrepreneurship
Education in the Nigerian Universities. These are all targeted at
reducing extreme hunger and poverty by 50 percent by the year 2015
FRN (2008). These are all steps in the right direction. The Nigerian

government and all those concerned with implementation need to take
closer look at all these programmes so that maximum benefit can be
realized from the huge amount invested on them by the government.
      The Entrepreneurship Education in Nigerian Universities is a little
over one year, and so would not give premature assessment but right
from the onset of the programme, the Federal Government should
have set aside adequate funds to make the programme realizable,
centres for acquiring the skills and activities started in the course
synopsis should be built and equipped. Artisans who are educated and
capable of handling these skills should be employed. Undergraduates
should not see the Course (GSE 301) on Graduate Self Employment as
a mere theoretical course like other courses. They should be prepared
to graduate from the universities with at least two skills as contained
in the Course Synopsis.
      There is need to counsel undergraduates for possible attitudinal
re-orientation towards self-employment and self-reliance. Many
graduates have not come to terms with the reality of non-existence of
white collar jobs. This counselling and reorientation should be
incorporated along with the Entrepreneurship Education. Posters and
Slogans about self-reliance should be pasted in conspicuous places in
the universities. This will constantly remind the prospective graduates
that time after graduation should not be wasted to endless seeking for
jobs that are not available. NDE is doing a lot of enlightenment
programmes on the Nigerian media such as the Television; more can
still be done until the idea is imbibed.

     National Directorate of Employment (NDE) needs to be
overhauled. Majority of the staff also need to catch the wind of
change. The Directorate should find a way of attracting more
graduates into the entrepreneurship scheme. Many school leavers that
are attracted cannot create jobs. The Scheme needs to be taken to a
higher level that is emphasis to be shifted to graduate entrepreneurs.
     Entrepreneurs should be able to secure financial assistance for
their small scale industries. The Federal Government should increase
its financial participation and also facilitate and attract loans for the
entrepreneurs. These loans can be taken from the Commercial Banks
with minimal interest. At present, some commercial banks are
financiers to small scale industries but more banks should participate.
There should be no unnecessary bottlenecks in the process of taking
loans for entrepreneurship.
     In the development of entrepreneurship, the Federal, State and
Local Governments should jointly develop rural areas. These are the
places where land is available, cost of production and labour are
cheap. The rural areas must have such social amenities as drinkable
water, uninterrupted electricity, and good roads. If these facilities are
available in the rural areas, productions can be done there and
products brought to the urban areas for consumption.

     This paper has discussed and evaluated the Entrepreneurship
Education offered at the undergraduate level of the Nigerian
universities. It also ventured into getting the perceptions of

undergraduate students on their involvement in entrepreneurship. The
National Directorate of Employment (NDE), the only Board or
Directorate saddled with the training of would-be entrepreneurs does
not have adequate data on graduate involvement. The paper
concluded by giving useful tips on the way out of the challenges faced
by graduates in getting self-employed.


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Akpomi, M.E. (2009). Achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
     Through Teaching Entrepreneurship Education in Nigerian Higher
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