A VERITABLE TOOL FOR TRANSFORMATION OF NIGERIA
ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION AT THE BASIC LEVEL:
A VERITABLE TOOL FOR TRANSFORMATION OF NIGERIA
Madumere-Obike, C.U. Ph.D
Ukala, Chinyere Cathereine
Department of Education Management
Faculty of Education, University of Port Harcourt
An efficient and sound system of education management with all the resources put in place in schools are the bases of good governance and democracy. This paper presents a critical assessment of the development of human capital through entrepreneurial education to curb unemployment among the youths, and as a platform towards achieving the Transformation Agenda and vision 2020. It examined the meaning and concept of entrepreneurship in line with the provision as highlighted by UBE Act (2004) National Policy on Education (2004) section 5, sub-section 2, 22 and 29 and the provision made by the Transformation Agenda in respect to education which amongst others emphasized skill acquisition which has to be in congruence with what is in the school system. Base on the review of related literature and analysis of prevailing conditions in Nigeria, the paper identified major challenges inhibiting the implementation of basic education, government should device a means of helping young people to better realize their potentials at work and take their proper place in the society as productive, responsible, and infrastructure that would create an enabling environment for those proceeding to academic, or professional tertiary education as well as for those entering the world of work either as trainee, wage employment or self-employment of the next generation who are the future leaders of this country. Government should re-align the educational policy implementation around life occupation in line with the socio-political aspiration of the people. This will help in achieving a holistic transformation agenda in all works of life.
“People are the real wealth of a nation” United Nation Development programme UNDP, (2010). People especially the youths could be seen as raw materials that need to be developed using all the necessary resources to raise their optimal use in production process. The youth of every nation constitute the work force that cannot be ignored. They occupy the productive age and thus must be empowered and mobilized to contribute effectively to economic, social and cultural development and integration they have to have access to good quality education that will develop the three domains (cognitive, affective, and psychomotor) to enable them develop their full potentials in all ramifications.
Education has long been identified as instrument of development and change in society. It has been used right from early civilization to modern times. While some countries have achieved this through education, some have lagged behind, hence the developed and the underdeveloped; as the late is branded third world countries and Nigeria belongs to the later group Madumere-Obike and Ukala (2009). Education is the duty of the state and the inalienable right of the child and as a result should be given the proper attention it deserves, that addresses the needs and positive values of the society. No country ever transformed without a sound and functional educational system. The 4th edition of the National Policy on Education stated the need for skills acquisition at the basic level hence the 6,3,3,4 and now the 9,3,4 which if well implemented, will enhance human capital development and national growth. It is envisaged that the achievement of this objectives will lead to the proper development of mental faculties, human skills and correct attitude of life with a sound moral and ethical code of conduct.
Generally the purpose of educational system is that of educating and training the young ones who should be equipped with solid knowledge and abilities enabling them to create and act independently as well as fit within the technology world to today. The world of today is knowledge driven; leading to the emergence of global knowledge economy, that drives the industrial and technological transformation in the world. Skill acquisition has been found to be one of the core requirements in technological advancement and the basic level of education is a critical level in this process. It is always better to catch them young and instill the entrepreneur discipline from a young age. However in Nigeria, the educational system had deteriorated and it is also known fact that primary school pupils no longer practice simple craft making in schools especially in public schools. There are noticeable defects in our present educational system right from the basic level that is the level of education where a solid foundation of lifelong learning is laid. School leavers from all levels roam the streets looking for employment that is non existent.
Transformation agenda, among others, aim at reforming the economy, government security, employment opportunity, power, infrastructure, health services, education and other public utilities. The education system is the engine and bedrock of any country’s transformation agenda. Transformation agenda is concerned with the development of the whole person, including intellectual, character and psychomotor. It is for this reason that education occupies an important place in human development goals. In the committee of vision 2010, set up on 27th November 1996 by the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, nobody in the academics sought on any matter. Afolabi (2012). Yet education is regarded as a vital tool for the transformation and key to the sustainable development of a nation. This definitely will pose a serious daunting challenge to the Transformation Agenda considering the manner government treats the issues concerning the education sector in this country. The budgetary allocation for education in this country has always been meager (not up to the standard 26%) and even the little that is allocated, is not released fully and on time. Like most developing countries.
Nigeria is faced with a lot of problems, amongst which are security, conflicts, poverty and unemployment. Among these problems, unemployment seems to be a common denominator of all the problems. It is the root of all other problems. There is a saying that “an idle mind is the devils workshop”. This is actually true because the problem of unemployment cuts across all levels of graduates, form secondary school leavers to university graduates. This shows that there is an obvious critical skill gap in our educational system.
The growth of any nation depends on a functional educational system that recognizes the needs and the value of the society at any given period in time. Nigerian is not fully exploiting its entrepreneurial potentials. Fostering and entrepreneurial mindset as well as teaching the relevant skill starting from the basic level will greatly contribute too our educational goals and the Transformation Agenda.
The entrepreneurial spirit is innate in most Nigerians. Other African countries that are not as rich as Nigeria for example Mali, Ghana, Senegal are known for inculcating entrepreneurial spirit right from primary school level, which is helping them solve their economic and especially and especially problem of unemployment and security. Nwankwo (2007) observed the Nigerian skill operator are as productive as a United Kingdom counterpart, and that in general, the Nigerian worker is capable of learning fast, and his general level of productivity improves with experience. This proves that Nigerian have the full potentials that is required to go into any form of entrepreneurship in the class of Bill Gate, Oprah Winfrey, Sir Richard Branson and in Nigerian, we have notable names of people who had little education but have made names in entrepreneurship, for example, Sir Gabriel Igbinedion of Benin Kingdom and Late Sir Ojukwu of blessed memory and so on. The little manners and habits, joined with sports and practical skills. Hence if one was endowed academically one could do sports or even combinations of vocational and technical aspect of class work. Being a carpenter, mechanic, plumber, or an electrician made so much sense with professionalism, brought to bear on practice. This manifested in their out—it wuhi attributed to the quality of training they received. With this, the theory of a sound mind in a sound body made meaning, and had its reflection in the society, where conflict and security were never and issue.
The mission statement of UBE (Universal Basic Education) stated among others that “every child that passes through the system should acquire appropriate level of literacy, numeracy, communication manipulation and life skills and be employable (italics added) useful to himself and the society at large by possessing relevant ethical, moral and civic value”.
For the transformation agenda to have meaning and effect the concept of innovation and newness should be an integral part of entrepreneurship education that would give the youths a reorientation on the value of life and human dignity. Innovation and change is the act of introducing something new and it is a daunting task. It takes not only the ability to create and conceptualize but also the ability to understand the forces at work in the environment. The notion of entrepreneurship education as an innovator has been established in the educational system in China, Singapore and India. These countries have been branded underdeveloped but today most of the so called developed worlds are looking up to them in terms of technology. This is as a result of their persistent entrepreneurial spirit through education. Entrepreneurial education has transformed their countries to the extent that they are at the top ranking in technology, medical and even holiday resort. This paper therefore focuses on highlighted by the UBA Act, relationship between entrepreneurship as a platform towards the Transformation Agenda as well as the factors inhibiting entrepreneurship education and strategies that can promote entrepreneurial spirit.
The Concept of Entrepreneurship Education
The word entrepreneur is a French word and it is literally translated to mean “between-taker” or go-between. The meaning of the word entrepreneur has gone through many phases from the earliest period to the middle ages and to the present time. Entrepreneurial education is that type of education that seek to provide students with the managerial knowledge, skills and motivation to encourage entrepreneur success in a variety of settings, Solomon (2003:4) stated that entrepreneurship referred to the attitude, skill, and actions of an individuals or individual starting a new business. The scholar also emphasized that the entrepreneur is a creative person, risk bearer who is good at recognizing opportunity, having managerial qualities to work with people, patients and endurance. Entrepreneurial education therefore is the education that would inculcate in the individual’s ability to create something new with values by devoting necessary time and effort, assuming the accompanying financial, emotional, social risk and receiving the reward of monetary, personal satisfaction and independence. Therefore what makes entrepreneurship education distinctive is its focus on realization of opportunity, by developing and training the recipient of his survival, as well as his growth in the society through his own personal effort. At the societal and national growth which invariably gives the recipient sense of belonging, integrity and achievement.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, entrepreneurs were viewed mostly from an economic perspective. Hisrich, Peters & Shepherd (2008) stated that
The entrepreneur organizes, and operates an enterprise for personal gain. He pays current prices for the materials consumed in the business, for the use of the land, for the personal sources he employs, and for the capital he requires. He contributes his own initiative, skill, and ingenuity in planning, organizing, and administering the enterprise. He also assumes the chances of loss and gain consequent to unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances. The net residue of the annual receipts of the enterprise after all costs have been paid, he retains for himself. (2008.7)
In the middle of 20th century an entrepreneurial was seen as an innovator. As an individual developing something unique: Hisrich et al are of the opinion that;
the function of the entrepreneur is to reform or revolutionize the pattern of production by exploiting an invention or more generally untried technological method of producing a new way, opening a new source of supply of materials or a new outlet for products, by organizing a new industry.(7)
from this perspective it takes not only the ability to create and conceptualize but also the ability to understand all the forces at work in the environment. And this ability to innovate and change can be observed throughout history and in every civilization. In fact this could be summed up0 that, the only thing that is constant in the world today is innovation and change. However, today the entrepreneurship can be redefined in three perspectives.
To an economist, an entrepreneur is one who brings labour, material, other assets and resources into combination that make them have greater value than it was before by introducing changes and innovation. To a psychologist, an entrepreneur is driven by certain forces that motivate him to achieve something, experiment, accomplish or perhaps to escape the authority of others. To a business, an entrepreneur may appear as threat, an aggressive competitor whereas to still another businessman the same entrepreneur may be an ally, a source of supply, a customer or someone who create wealth for others, and find better ways to utilize resources, reduce waste and produce employment for others. In support of this Solomon (2003:3) stated that the entrepreneur is one who combines and organizes other factors of production and remains the only factor that cannot creates additional wealth and job opportunities. In all these we have to recognize critical impact of entrepreneurship in today’s global technological and technological and economic growth. The imperative is unmistakably clear.
Benefits of entrepreneurial education at the basic level.
Through entrepreneurial education the young people including the disable among them, learn organizational skills, management theories and interpersonal skills, all of which are transferable skills sought after by employers. World Bank (2005) identified the importance and directions for the development of basic education when it stated that:
There is no question that basic education has a key role to play in the social, economic, and human capital development of countries around the world. The task before today’s societies is to transform basic education institutions and current schooling practices to align them with the demand of a globalized and technology driven world. Policy makers and educators must address the twin challenges of increasing “access to” and quality and relevance of basic education for all young people. And basic education system everywhere will need to be more flexible, relevant and responsive to both local needs and the global environment in the 21st century.
National Foundation for teaching entrepreneurship in U.S.A highlights the benefits as follows;
• Improved academic performance, school attendance and educational attempts.
• Increased problem solving and decision making abilities.
• Improved interpersonal relationship, team work; money management, public speech skills.
• Job readiness
• Enhance Social psychological development (self-esteem, ego development, self-efficiency.
• Improved health status http//www.fdol.gob/odep/pubejfac.interpreneuship.htm
Moreover in their empirical research to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of youth participation in entrepreneurship education their findings revealed the following;
• Interest in attending college increased by 32%
• Occupational aspiration increased by 44%
• Independent reading by 8.5%
• Belief that attaining ones goals is within one continual increased by 99%
• Alumni increased by 99%
• Social welfare decreased by 80%
They also highlighted that opportunity for work base experience also rose significantly. This equally helps them acquire jobs at higher wages after graduation; this also drops significantly dependence on welfare amongst young people, which participated in occupational education and special educational skills, than those who did not participate in such activities.
Labour market and technological gap in Nigeria
With the prevalence of unemployment, youth restiveness and the ailing economic situation in Nigeria, majority of the youths are idle, and some are involved in various vices, due to unemployment or underemployment, consequently they cannot contribute to nation building. This is a menace, and it constitutes a danger and threat to Nigeria’s transformation agenda. What could actually be transformed when the people that are supposed to contribute to this are not themselves transformed? The joblessness of the youths of today stems from the non-acquisition of entrepreneurial stalls. This has further aggravated the youth’s negative antisocial behaviour, ranging from armed robbery, militancy, kidnapping, restiveness, bokoharam and what have you. Bearing this in mind, it is clear that skills, training, and knowledge acquired in entrepreneurial education will come to play.
We are concerned with functional education that would place more emphasis on the utilitarian aspect that is extent to which education make individual more useful to him, and individual for better, an education that would make him reliant, rather than looking for white collar jobs, creates jobs by him and others. There should be a shift towards a functional education that would solve society and economic problems. Nowadays our educational system is turning out neither the ethnic occupational career nor the western education career. These youth become frustrated, unemployed and roam the streets with all types of negative vices. However other countries like Japan, china, Singapore, America have used this means to solve their economic and technological problems, Solomon (2003;23)observed that “education training and experience have increased the supply of entrepreneurial endeavours”. According to US census bureaus (2002) survey of business owners; Self-employed individual who have no paid employment operate three fourth of the U.S business, the U.S small business administration reported that Americas 25.8 million small business, employ 50% of the private workforce, who generate more than half of the nation’s gross domestic product, and are the principal source of new jobs in the U.S economy. Nearly 80% of the entrepreneurs are between the ages of 18 and 34. A 2005 poll from junior achievement found that 68.6 percent of the teenagers interviewed wanted to become entrepreneurs, even though they knew that it would not be an easy path. http//www/dol.gov/odepipube/fact/entrepreneurship/htm
From the foregoing analysis we can observe that entrepreneurship education, can offer solution to the transformation agenda. Entrepreneurship education seeks to prepare youths to be responsible enterprising individual, who will become entrepreneurs or have entrepreneurial spirit, by immersing them in real life learning experiences, where they can take risks, manage the results and learn from outcomes. This will help them to be self-sufficient, with potentials to create and manage business in which they can function as the employers of labour, rather than merely being employees. Through this, young people including the disabled youths learn organizational skills, management theories, all which are highly transferable skills sought by employers all lover the world. Transformation agenda is about reforming the economy, governance, power sector, security, infrastructure and all other aspects of the national life for the realization of vision 2020 and national advancement. Education sector is the foundation for any relevance and successes that could be recorded and as a result this transformation ought to start from the educational sector.
The provision of National Policy on Education,(2004), the UBE act (2004) mission statement section5, subsection 22 and 29a, and the provision made by the transformation agenda in respect to education, collaborated with the provision made by the National Policy on Education and the UBE act (2004) mission statement section 5, subsection 22h. The following areas of priority were highlighted:
• Access and equity
• Standard and quality
• Technical and vocational education
• Education and training
• Funding and resource mobilization
• Strengthening of institutional management of education
• Teacher education and development
With these, state governments are expected to translate these into practice by adopting them and implementing them in their various states: on the other hand, the provision made by the NPE and UBE act (2004) highlighted among others:
• The inculcation of permanent literacy, numeracy and ability to communicate effectively
• Lay a sound for scientific and reflective thinking.
• Give citizenship education as a basis for effective participation in the contribution of the life of the society.
• Mould the character and develop sound attitude and moral in the child.
• Develop in the child the ability to adapt to the child’s change in environment
• Give the child opportunity for developing manipulative skills that will enable the child function effectively in the society within the limit of the child’s capacity.
• Provision of the child with the basic tools for further educational advancement, include preparation for trade and craft of the locality.
• The need to integrate information and communication technology in Nigeria education system.
• Provide technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for agriculture, industrial commercial and economic development. All these were already in existence as the goals/objectives of educational systems as result nothing have really changed except maybe the way he present government might go about in its implementation. This pronouncement emphasized integrating the individual into sound and effective citizen, this calls for development of cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains in other to refine an develop a true educated man worthy in intellect, emotions of these goals are checked, the transformation agenda would constantly remain a mirage.
The Transformation Agenda and Its Implementation
The agenda in respect of education is about access, equity, quality, technical and vocational education, training and retraining of teachers, funding and mobilization of physical, instructional and human resources to achieve these goals. The policy stipulates that all other stake holders in education and government should have the political will to put in place resources that re needed to be deployed to transform the school system positively. The World Bank (2004) started that good education and useful skills would contribute to poverty reduction by encouraging long term domestic investment on the assurance that the viability of investment would not be jeopardized by macro-economic instability. http//:www.worldbank.or/htm/fanmrapag/human.html
The historical experiences of other countries have clearly shown that basic education is critical in technological changes and industrialization of many countries. Education is a federal government project. To cite poverty and lack of funds by government as the main cause of poor school attendance and high rate of drop out is not the fact. Government has to make school attractive in terms of curriculum content and other physical and instructional resources available, to re-align our educational system to a functional one with acquisition of skills, and entrepreneurial spirit should be a matter of will power. Education being the only in-exhaustive resource that development and positive transformative hinges on, the transformation agenda cannot be a success without a quality transition in the educational system.
To be successful in the 21st century in the transformation agenda, government must take advantage of information technology, especially the internet, globalization, at the basic level of education. By enhancing our education through entrepreneurship, educating should employ the following strategies:
1. Provide physical, instructional and human resources needed for the full implementation of entrepreneurship education.
2. Re-train teachers and employ experienced and skill workers into the educational system.
3. Ensuring quality and make sure that the minimum standard is maintained.
4. Learning about entrepreneurship through direct experiences and practices with mini companies, co-operations associations and letting the student run it with a minimum profit margin to enhance practical learning and productivity.
5. This government should encourage companies fro example Liver brothers and others to establish an outlet of their company or small branch that will show and teach students concrete examples, difficult obstacles and how to make success out of it.
6. Students who opted to go to entrepreneurship after leaving school should be given a grant by the government as an incentive to take off and properly monitored by a mentor or some officials from government.
7. Technical and Vocational education should be at formal and informal levels and should be made compulsory at the basic level
8. Educational programs should be re-evaluated to address sustainable development and reviewed to provide the skills needed for comprehensive development.
9. Sporting facilities and technical equipment should be a standard prerequisite for a license to any private institution established.
Academic talent and skill developed must all go together to produce a well-rounded educational citizen,. Students and staff should be properly motivated for the needed improvement to meet the challenges of not only the transformation agenda but also the target of the millennium goals. Government should create an enabling environment, provide fund for the implementation of entrepreneurial education and developed strategies to lure private sector, companies, NGO’s to participate actively in educational programs and place education in its topmost priority as a means of national and economic development. The existing comp0anies should make constant input in the school curricula on the type of skills the institutions should produce given their needs for such skills and invite the pupils for internship at appropriate age. Also they should assist the institutions by making monetary, equipment and facilities donation available to the schools system. Schools could be built like a mini satellite town with small industries to be run by students on small scale and their produce taken into the competitive market (Madumere – Obike and Ukala 2009). Teachers should be re-trained, positively motivated to cope with innovation and technological change especially in ICT. Obanya (2000) opined that no educational system can rise above the level of its teachers. “And no society can rip where it did not sow”. The scholar went on to say that teachers need to be re-tooled in ICT, the use of library, and integration of modern technology I the curriculum of teachers. In turn the teachers would integrate technology into their theories and classroom instructions with entrepreneurial skills. Dike (2004) in support of this stated that the UBE amid entrepreneurial education can make huge differences I the lives of our people, if they are well implemented, financed and supervised. And the teacher should be well trained and motivated. In advanced nations for instance, teachers are encouraged to integrate technology into their curriculum to enhance teaching and improved student learning. But like any other aspect of life in Nigeria our society is lagging behind in the http;//www.nigerworld.com
The Nigerian government should have the political will and be honest with herself to give education its rightful place and priority it deserves in its transformation and developmental agenda. The nature of man is the same all over the world; the only changing variable is the environment. When the environment is conducive and right, even the sky would not be his limit. Bill gate at the age of 14 and his childhood friend Paul Allen at lakeside school in Seattle formed their first computer company which the former with his team and leadership style has made Microsoft the giant it is today. With the success of windows, internet explorer and on Microsoft has become a household name and Bill gate a business genius.
Nothing can be transformed in the desired manner with illiteracy or ill-functional education system. Therefore the education system being the engine of the transformation agenda, Government should start the transformation agenda by supplying the educational system with all the resources that is needed in making eh school climate conducive for teaching and learning to take place. The concentration should not only be on academic performance but other talents that need to be discovered at an early age to help for proper development.
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