Entrepreneurship Education and National Development
Entrepreneurship education is learning directed towards developing those skills, competencies, understanding and attributes which equip young people to be innovative and training them to identify, create, initiate and successfully manage personal and community business as well as working for themselves.
Entrepreneurship education is a pathway to job creation, poverty reduction and national development as well as economic development. A developed nation can only be so classified if certain core parameters are identifiable.
Such parameters include a vibrant private sector led economy to complement the public sector. No national development can take place without a robust economy that is driven by the collective actions of several entrepreneurial actions.
Consequently, national development is a function of the development of individuals and corporate entities within the country. Entrepreneurship through its developmental impact on individuals plays a fundamental role in the development of nations and their economics.
For instance, China has become one of the most important engines for world economic growth since the financial crisis in 2008. To achieve this, the Chinese government amended its constitution to allow the private sectors compete and develop within the limits prescribed by law.
The constitution protects the legal rights and interests of the private economy, and exercises the guidance, supervision and management. Also, the central government proposed several policies for integrating more youths into the business sector that would provide more solutions to curb its growing unemployment rate.
Some of these policies are the Chinese Medium and Long Term Youth Development programme (2016-2025), Scholars Keyan Podium plan, The Excellent Engineer Education Programme, Outstanding Legal Talent Programme and Top-notch Innovation Talent in Agriculture and Forestry programme, among others.
These programmes were jointly implemented by the Chinese Ministry of Education, private sector, other ministries and commissions with the aim of cultivating a large number of high-quality professionals in various fields with strong innovation ability and adapting to the economic needs and social development for enhanced national development of china.
In the first year of implementation, about 208 universities were attracted by the plan with over 6,000 graduate entrepreneurs, 21 industries created in seven sectors. The Chinese government invested 2,200 million Yuan as special funds for the programme while the private sector invested 420 million Yuan.
Through entrepreneurship education in China, about 10.97 million jobs are created yearly in China while increasing its GDP growth rate of 1.2 trillion Yuan in the year 2000 to 11.2 trillion Yuan in 2016 and 12.237 trillion Yuan in 2017.
In Africa, youth unemployment is high across the continent. However some countries like Kenya, Botswana, Ghana and Nigeria, have tried to tackle this problem by equipping children with entrepreneurial skills while they are still at school.
For instance, in Kenya, the government and private businesses have taken an initiative at attempting to address these challenges of unemployment and high poverty rate through entrepreneurship education.
This was achieved through the creation of enabling environment via investment in physical infrastructure, and also create and enabling environment for dialogue with the private sectors through the establishment of Presidential Round Table (PRT) to discuss the role each party had in improvising entrepreneurship education in Kenya for enhanced national development.
One of the approaches adopted towards enhancing entrepreneurial activity and enterprise growth in Kenya is to create an enterprise culture among the youth, while targeting the youth in school.
This approach has helped the Kenyan government provide a long term solution to the problem of job creation for enhanced national development. All colleges and universities in Kenya offer business studies programmes within the schools, departments or faculties.
In Nigeria, the menacing problem of unemployment and poverty spurred the Nigerian government into developing a policy framework for youth entrepreneurship education. This saw the birth of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in 1986 and the Work For Yourself Programme (WFYP) in 1987.
Both programmes were joint programmes of training and financial support to entrepreneurs. The NDE was however more extensive and included three core programmes namely the Youth Employment and Vocational Skills Development Programme; the Agricultural Programmes, and the Small Scale Industries and Graduate Employment Scheme.
These programmes made significant impacts on Nigeria’s economy and National Development as they were able to empower young graduates in the task of job and wealth creation through entrepreneurial thinking.
However, the youths were also confronted with the problem of non-possession of sound knowledge of entrepreneurship. In an effort to fill this gap the NDE introduced several programmes such as Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) which has offered functional education for the youth to enable them to be self-employed and self-reliant.
Other efforts by the Nigerian government include the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWIN), Subsidy reinvestment Programme (SureP), NPower and Youth Entrepreneurship Support Programme.
These efforts notwithstanding, the problem of graduate in employment continued to soar high and constituted a major challenge the Nigerian nation with 7.53 million unemployed youth in 2017.
This is largely due to the curricula of the universities and other tertiary schools with emphasis on training for white-collar jobs. These have a negative effect on Nigeria’s national development with high crime rate, youth restiveness, drugs abuse, among others.
The tertiary education in Nigeria has failed to meet the employment requirements of its teeming graduates. The monumental increase occurred despite the fact that all tiers of governments as well as the organized private sector generated additional 1.2 million jobs, which thus put the estimated labour population at 85.1 per cent for the same period.
There is an urgent need for a proactive employment drive in the country through entrepreneurship education, massive public infrastructural development such as railways, roads construction, reinvention of public schools and hospitals which could enhance national development in Nigeria.
Entrepreneurship education has various benefits to the individuals as well as the nation. It will provide the young graduates adequate training that will enable them to be creative and innovative in identifying great business opportunities.
It will also offer functional education to the youths to enable them to be well empowered and self-reliant people in their own right and serve as catalyst for economic growth and development. In addition, it will offer tertiary institution graduates with adequate training in risk management to make learning outcome feasible and reduce the high rate of poverty and insecurity as well as violence.
Furthermore, it will create job and employment opportunities for its citizenry and reduce the rural-urban migration. It will provide the young graduates with enough training skills and support that will enable them to establish a career in small and medium size business, and incubate the spirit of perseverance in the youths and adults which will enable them to persist in any business venture they embark on;
As well as create a smooth transition from tradition to modern industrial economy. Finally, entrepreneurship education will result to balanced regional development and increase in GDP and Per Capita Income.
For Nigeria educational institutions to be an instrument for national development and transformation, it is suggested that lecturers/instructors be trained regularly on entrepreneurship education within and outside the country, while the federal government should increase the budgetary allocation as well as provide fund to graduating students to start their own businesses.
Also, university managements should contact some non-government organizations or banks to give soft loans/grants to entrepreneurship educators to establish their own business, while students should be provided with adequate information about new businesses.
The universities should regularly organize workshops for the students and invite successful business men and women to give talk on how to start and run a business successfully.
In addition, centre for entrepreneurship education should be established in every tertiary institution while undergraduate students should be mandated to go for internship for at least a period of three months.
Furthermore, the institutions should ensure provision of appropriate instruction materials and local infrastructure and support services relevant to Nigeria situation.
Source: The Nation