THE EFFECT OF BUSINESS EDUCATION AS A TOOL FOR REDUCING UNEMPLOYMENT IN NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the Study
Education is the key to national development. This is because it unlocks the economic potentials of the people; empowers and equips individuals in society to participate in, and benefit from their national economy; facilitates economic development and provides the basis for transformation. Education is the essential tool for sustainability. The present global economic crises suggest that the entire world is in a war between financial/qualitative education and catastrophe (Aluwong, 2010)
Entrepreneurship education as part of the total educational system is the type of education that involves the acquisition of skills, ideas and management abilities necessary for job creation. An entrepreneur promotes employment rather than seeking for an employment. Therefore, there is a need to embrace this type of education and provide all the necessary resources needed to make functional. Quality entrepreneurship education could be used as a tool for fighting the war against poverty and unemployment in Nigeria.
Education is said to be qualitative when the input such as students, teachers, finance, facilities and equipment and all these are converted through teaching and learning (theory and practical) and produce a desirable output. The output is better equipped to serve themselves and the society. The quality of input influences to a large extent the quality of output. In other words, the quality of the input of entrepreneurship education such as teachers, students and infrastructural facilities will influence greatly, the input of the output (Olorunmolu, 2010).
Unemployment is one of the principal social and economic challenges of this decade in Africa and around the world. Long spells of unemployment can have serious long-term effects for individuals, such as reduced earnings and social exclusion. The rate of youth unemployment in Nigeria is high, even at the period of economic normalcy i.e. the oil boom of the 1970s (6.2%); 1980s (9.8%) and the 1990s (11.5%) to 21.1% in 2010 and 24% in 2011. (NPC, CBN, McKinsey analysis, 2012). It is estimated that one year of unemployment during youth can reduce annual earnings at age 42 by up to 21 % (Gregg & Tominey, 2005) and that an extra three months of unemployment prior to the age of 23 results in an extra two months of unemployment, on average, between the ages of 28 and 33 (Gregg, 2001).Prolonged unemployment magnifies these problems and increases the chances that they are passed on to their children. In addition to these pronounced individual costs, the unemployed represent a significant stock of unused economic resources that lowers output and the potential for economic growth.
Like many developing countries in Africa, Nigeria is facing a serious unemployment problem coupled with a declining standard of living, increasing disparity between the urban and rural regions of the country, and inadequate social and physical infrastructures to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population (Ferej, 1994). “According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria has a population of over 67 million unemployed youths as of 2011. This is out of a population of about 167 million.” The scenario opens the country to a major crisis if not quickly addressed, and the higher the number of unemployed youths, the more likely a crisis could be stirred. There is the urgent need to take youths off the streets and put them to work in order to achieve peace and economic development in the country. Unemployment and poverty, especially among the youth, had remained one of the fundamental challenges threatening the economic development of Nigeria.
To provide a means of survival, many of the unemployed have turned to the informal sector to create small enterprises that range from trivial trading activities to reasonably successful production, manufacturing, and construction businesses. In general, a small enterprise may be defined as an enterprise having less than 20 employees. The small enterprise sector is composed of a range of enterprises including: self-employed artisans, microenterprises, cottage industries, and small enterprises in the formal business sector. These small enterprises may be engaged in trade, commerce, distribution, transport, construction, agribusiness, manufacturing, maintenance and repair, or other services. As a result of the trend toward the creation of small enterprises, the informal sector has grown to include approximately 60% of the labour force in Africa (International Labour Organization, 2006).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There is a problem of mass employment and disequilibrium in the labour market in Nigeria, a rapidly growing number of graduates from the nation’s higher education institution competing for the shrinking number of available job spaces. It is very interesting to note that since the re-birth of democracy in Nigeria, more youths have access to education as well as higher education. Yet statistics still show that most of them still struggle to be absorbed into the labour market or even have intention to start their own businesses. Are there historical nuances associated with these trends or could open access to education be the underlying cause of this problem? Notwithstanding these critical questions the basis for this study stems from a general outcry regarding the alleged alarming rate of unemployed graduates in Nigeria and the pursuit of white color jobs, despite huge government investment in entrepreneurship education over the last decade and higher education institution playing a major role of creating an business culture and mindest on undergraduate through entrepreneurship education.
For almost a decade now in Nigeria the curriculum of entrepreneurship education has remained un-changed. Worst still is that a single curriculum is used in training undergraduate of all discipline in entrepreneurship. To meet the global challenges the curriculum of tertiary institution need to be overhauled to take care of some inadequacies. Emaikwu (2011) argues that institutions of higher learning in Nigeria have concentrated more on theoretical and abstract instructional deliveries focusing only on cognitive development and consequently turning out non-business skilled graduate into labour market. Curriculum experts have attested that there is the need to change from the hangover effects of theoretical liberal academic education which focused only on cognitive development to the utter neglect of entrepreneurship education that has its focus on practical occupational skills for self-employment and self-reliance. This of course is a problem that policy makers in Nigeria need to tackle if they are to enhance the entrepreneurship culture in the country and increase the business inclination of undergraduate. The ultimate challenge therefore, is for the policy makers to encourage curriculum innovation aimed at producing graduates with the right mind set for starting business of their own and in the same vein motivating other to start-up business for economic reliance.
Teaching methods or pedagogical approach to delivering entrepreneurship education to undergraduates may increase business inclination. The high rate of unemployment in Nigeria calls to question what knowledge or skill was actually imparted and through what teaching method was it imparted and why the decision to seek for a job instead of business startup? Results illustrate that there is a demand for new education set consisting of new material of self-improvement skill knowledge and experience. In Nigeria, the education model is based on the idea of “get –a-job”, whereas entrepreneurship education according to Liang (2011) should be built on information skills and mentally supporting the philosophy of creating jobs by creating innovative ideas. The literature does not offer clear guidelines or framework for selecting specific teaching methods at the course level that are likely to achieve learning objective given the complexity inherent in entrepreneurship education and the variety of needs of student and their likely future careers. Entrepreneurship trainers can refer to general sources of teaching methods (Barkley, 2010) or consider assessment of categories of entrepreneurship courses and programmes. In Nigeria the confusing state of education has led to the recent call for an emergency situation to be declared in that sector. With graduates from Higher Education Institution in Nigeria being called “half baked” or “unbaked” it calls to question the pedagogical approach used in delivering knowledge in entrepreneurship.
Internship or workplace learning is based on the notion that the experience a learner gains at work is considered as an important aspect in matters concerning learning. Therefore internship or work place learning induce a conscious effort to establish a situation where learning takes place in real life situation (Sumatti, 2012). While studies of student perception on internship have been conducted in Malaysia (Sumati, 2012) and in the UK (Halyoak, 2013) the study of their effect on business inclination is a different thing. In Nigeria, polytechnic student irrespective of discipline must embark on 1 or 2 years industrial training with the hope that after graduation they can start their own business; but this is not the case. Apart from just showing a letter confirming their participation in the programme, we still do not know how their participation positively or negatively affected their desire to start their own business. If it affected positively why do they still flood the labour market for white collar jobs? If negatively; what must policy makers do? Ironically, students in Engineering and allied discipline both in the polytechnic and universities must attend 3 month and 6 months industrial internship programme in mostly the private sector financed by the government with the hope of having the skill to be gainfully self-employed. Yet there is still the problem of graduate unemployment and general aptly towards business start-ups.
1.3 Objectives of Study
The major objective of this study is to evaluate the business education as a tool for reducing unemployment in Nigeria. The specific objectives include to:
- investigate the impact of the business curriculum on the reduction of unemployment in Nigeria.
- investigate the impact of pedagogical approach on the reduction of unemployment in Nigeria.
- investigate the impact of student internship programme on the reduction of unemployment in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Questions
- what is the impact of business curriculum on the reduction of unemployment in Nigeria?
- How does pedagogical approach impact on the reduction of unemployment in Nigeria?
- How does student internship program impact on the reduction unemployment in Nigeria?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
- H01: business curriculum has no significant impact on the reduction of unemployment in Nigeria.
- H02: Pedagogical approach has no significant impact on the reduction of unemployment in Nigeria.
- H03: Student internship program has no significant impact on the reduction of unemployment in Nigeria.
1.6 Operationalization of the Variables
Y = f(X)
Y = Dependent Variable
X = Independent Variable
Y = Reduction of unemployment
X = Entrepreneurship education
Y = (Y)
X = (x1, x2, x3)
x1 = Business Curriculum
x2 = Pedagogical Approach
x3 = Student Internship Program
y1= f(x1) ……………………………………………Equation 1
y2 = f(x2) ……………………………………………Equation 2
y3 = f(x3) ……………………………………………Equation 3
Regressionally, we have:
y1 = α0 + β1x1 + μ …………………………………..Equation 1
y2 = α0 + β2x2 + μ ………………………………….Equation 2
y3 = α0 + β3x3 + μ ………………………………….Equation 3
These are the equations to be considered in this study.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study focuses on the relationship that exists between business education as a tool for reducing unemployment in Nigeria, and how this relationship is affected by its related variables. The study is focused on the Department of Business Administration and Marketing of the four Private University in Ogun State namely, Babcock University, Covenant University, Bells University of Technology and Crawford University in Ogun State. The population of each University was gotten from the Department of Business Administration and Marketing through the Registrar of each schools, with Babcock University 106, Covenant University 113, Bells University of Technology 40 and Crawford University 22, with total of 281.The simple random sampling method will be adopted to select the respondents that corresponded with the sampling size.
1.8 Significance of the Study
The eventual significance of this study will be discussed under different functional headings appropriately:
The study is of important to management and operation of education ministry as it will help to improve and enhance research study based on the subject matter. Moreover, this study discussed the various concepts of business education and then clarification was given on how they relate to the study of management and unemployment reduction in Nigeria. Also, this will help scholars and practitioners alike to get into the management field knowing that they have the obligatory or compulsory knowledge on terms and concepts as it relate business education. It will also provide the needed framework for potential researchers most especially in Nigeria, to make a positive case for the observation and proper management of unemployment.
The study will assist the management of business in Nigeria to recognise and understand how their operations are viewed from the standpoint of their customers. Also, knowledge of this will help them have positive views and also to take tactical actions to counter some of the fears the customers have. This will in turn help them increase their penetration level in the long run and improve their service quality.
The study will also be beneficial to the government. As a result of the current growth in the business education in Nigeria are gradually becoming an integral part of the economy. Also, the study will help the government to understand that supporting the awareness of business education will help improve the economy as a whole.
1.9 Definition of Operational Term
Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits.
Unemployment represents the number of people in the work force who want to work but do not have a job. It is generally stated as a percentage and calculated by dividing the number of people who are unemployed by the total work force.
Pedagogical approach refers to the interactions between teachers, students, and the learning environment and the learning tasks.
Internship is an opportunity offered by an employer to potential employees, called interns, to work at a firm for a fixed, limited period of time.
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