Impact of entrepreneurship education in tackling the problem of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria




Background of the Study

One of the major concerns of most societies in the modern time is how to stem the ever rising tide of unemployment and achieve appreciable success in wealth creation and poverty reduction and foster socio-economic development. Stakeholders in education have constantly lamented the unfortunate trend in which our tertiary institutions annually turn out graduates who roam our streets daily in search of non-existing jobs. They have placed this ugly phenomenon on the door step of a dysfunctional education system that has structurally failed to capture the dynamic nature of education as agent of transformation and a catalyst for individual and societal self-reliance. In a positive reaction to this development, federal government in 2007 revised the curricula of university education to include entrepreneurship education in order to equip the Nigerian graduates in an effort to reduce the growing unemployment and to create more jobs as well as wealth.

According to Agi and Yellowe (2013) education is important to the development of human resources, impartation of appropriate skills, knowledge and attitude. It is the basis for transformation, industrialization and a high way to global knowledge economy. Relating to security, Agi and Yellowe (2013) explained further that education is regarded as a means of achieving culture of peace, gender equality and positive African values. It is therefore the understanding of many that education leads to national transformation and development, through reduction in poverty with ensured peace and security.

The National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (2004) document lends credence to the place of education by clearly explaining its role in self-reliance and development, Agi and Yellowe (2013) also supports this when they asserted that the goals of wealth creation or generation, poverty reduction and value re-orientation can only be attained and sustained through an efficient education system which impacts the relevant skills, knowledge, capacities, attitudes and values. In view of the benefits of education enumerated above, Nigeria has provided education for decades with abundant available manpower. However, what keeps agitating the nation endlessly borders on the slow and inefficient economy, near primitive democracy and violent social co-existence in society (NEEDS, 2004).

Entrepreneurship development is considered as a way to tackle some of the socio economic problems that bedeviled some countries presently, especially problem of high poverty and unemployment (Abubakar2012). The role of entrepreneurship is to promote prosperity by establishing new jobs, decreasing the level of unemployment and increase economic growth and development of a region (Kareem2015). They also increase productivity by introducing new innovation and speed up structural changes by forcing existing business to reform and increase competition (Baron 2007).

Entrepreneurship development contributes to poverty alleviation when it creates employment through the startup of new entrepreneurship or the expansion of existing ones and they increases social wealth by creating new markets, new industries, new technology, new institutional forms, new jobs and net increases in real productivity, increases income which culminates in higher standards of living for the population (Simon, 2005) then it is logically to state that if the number of entrepreneurs of any given country increase, the poverty indicators will decrease and vice versa. Entrepreneurship remains the gateways to sustainable wealth creation in Nigeria (Ogundele 2000).

Matanmi and Awodun (2005) advocated that if Nigeria desire to move out of the high level of unemployment and ravaging level of poverty, adequate attention must be giving to the growth of entrepreneurship. The poverty situation in Nigeria has indeed assumed a crisis dimension. Records from the Bureau of statistics show that about 67% of Nigerians live below the poverty line (Ajegi, 2002). The Nigeria government through most of her policies and programmes has made tremendous effort towards changing the scenario in the country. Despite the effort of government in this direction, the “poverty virus” is getting more entrenched and spreading faster and wider among the populace. This incidence is higher among the youth who falls within the age bracket of 15-35(Adofu and Ocheja 2013).

The untrained and unskilled youth grows into an unemployable man who cannot be employed because of his lack of marketable skills to be engaged in a job that can adequately support his family (Adofu and Ocheja 2013). The best remedy for poverty alleviation in any country of the world lies in encouraging more on business activity and startup the new ventures through entrepreneurship development (Alan 2006). Moreover, entrepreneurship provides a basis for economic change through new knowledge creation and application. Entrepreneurship promotes income empowerment in an economy and in the modern world; entrepreneurship provides a new approach for fighting poverty and stimulating economic growth in developing countries. One line of thinking about poverty reduction has developed around the idea of entrepreneurial activities in the form of new venture formation, innovation and high-growth firms.

In Nigeria most of the poverty alleviation measures or initiatives are embedded in entrepreneurship but have suffer several challenges culminating into their failure. This was as a result of political and policy instability, poor mechanisms of sustainability, lack of transparency and accountability, inadequate coordination of various programmes, inefficient budgetary management, absence of effective collaboration and complementation, absence of agreed poverty reduction agenda and failure of policy mechanism targets (Arogundade, Adebisi, &Ogunro, 2011; Hussaini, 2014). Despite the colossal amount of resources committed to those programmes, the poverty situation aggravates, and more and more people fall into the poverty region instead of escaping. The study tends to examine the effect of entrepreneurship development on poverty alleviation in Nigeria.

There is a close relationship between employment performance and poverty prevalence: poverty rates have remained roughly constant in the same manner as the recorded unemployment rate since the 1980s. The rate of poverty in Nigeria may be related to the problem of inequality in distribution of resource, high unemployment, low per capital income, high level of illiteracy etc. The goal of addressing poverty might remain elusive unless much emphasis is laid down on the development of entrepreneurial skill (Akpomi, 2009). Poverty has negative implications in people’s lives and its devastating and humiliating effect on human and national development cannot be underestimated. For instance poverty has been associated with poor health, low level of education or skills and high rates of disruptive or disorderly behavior among others. Nigeria’s unemployment and high poverty level poses even greater threat to its development, security and peaceful co-existence. It is argued that the depth and extent of global poverty would be far greater without the activities of entrepreneurs who have created jobs and wealth (Singer, 2014). This clearly signifies that entrepreneurship is a good tool in fight poverty. The reduction of poverty is the most difficult challenge facing any country in the developing world where on the average majority of the population is considered poor. Evidences in Nigeria show that the number of those in poverty has continued to increase (Raheem 2015). Poor people have severely limited access to, and control over, key assets, including land and physical and human capital. Lacking production and labour market endowments, the poor have low income and low consumption. In Nigeria, not only do many people live below the poverty line but they also stay poor for long and sustained periods. Many of these chronically poor people only emerge briefly from poverty because of seasonal employment, but lack the impetus to contribute to technological change and economic growth and development.

Statement of the Problem

Education in Nigeria is devoid of the element crucial to averting the surging rate of unemployment in the country, therefore the breeding of psychological dependence on direct access to money. Entrepreneurial development through education will advance the economy of the nation; much credence should be given to it and ingrained with focus on profitable personal development. Unemployment prevails in the country, hence, the growth of violence, poverty and segregation amongst citizens, because the educational system itself fails to empower the ones passing through it.

Poverty in Nigeria is becoming widespread and severe and in spite of the Nigeria’s vast resources, the country is known for her low Gross Domestic Product (GDP), low per capital income, high unemployment rate, low industrial utilization capacity and high birth rate. Both scholars and policymakers have proposed that entrepreneurship is an effective means for economic development and poverty alleviation in impoverished and lower income regions of the world. Worse still the problems of poverty in Nigeria is multifaceted, among which are , lack of access to good health facilities, high infant mortality rate, lack of essential infrastructure, unemployment, underemployment and corruption. Poor people lack the capacity to meaningfully participate in the economy, either as producers of goods and services or as suppliers of labour. The Nigeria government have introduced and established various programmes, policies and agencies saddled with the responsibility of alleviating poverty in the country. However, despite this policy stance very little seems to be achieved in terms of real impact of the plight of the poor.

Objective of the Study

            The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of  entrepreneurship education in tackling the problem of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria. The research work is designed to achieve the following specific objectives:

                    i.         To examine the impact of entrepreneurship education on unemployment and poverty.

                 ii.         To identify the environmental factors influencing individual entrepreneurial spirit.

               iii.         To reveal the extent of government contribution to entrepreneurship development.

Research Questions

This study is hoped to provide answers to the following questions;

                          i.            What are the impact of entrepreneurship education on unemployment and poverty?

                       ii.            Does an environmental factor have any influence on entrepreneurship education and skills among students in tertiary institutions?

                     iii.            To what extent does government contribute to the development of entrepreneurship in Nigeria tertiary institutions?

Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses are tested in this study:

H01: There is no significant impact of entrepreneurship education on unemployment and poverty

H02: Environmental factors has no impact on entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurship skills among students in tertiary institutions.

H03: Government contribution has no impact on entrepreneurshipdevelopment in Nigeria tertiary institutions.

Significance of the Study

The findings involved in this study might be beneficial to the entrepreneur instructors, students, the school administrations and the government as a whole. The significance of this study will make entrepreneur to be aware not only to the level of approach but also the immense potentials of showing the importance of entrepreneur to Nigeria economy through the use of relevant practical aspect that related to the teaching of entrepreneur in schools. Also, this study can help students’ to be fully prepared for the challenges ahead and apply what they have learnt to their day to day activities after graduation.

The study of this nature is likely to help the state, nation, educational sectors and the world in general benefit from adherence to the recommendations and implementation that will help produce youths who would be better leaders of tomorrow. Finally, the research will add to available literature and also encourage further research on the topic.    

Delimitation of the Study

This research work is on the impact of entrepreneurship education in tackling the problem of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria. This study will covered tertiary institutions in Ekiti State, Nigeria. This research is limited to this area as a result of some constraints such as financial challenges of the researcher and inadequate time frame allocated for this research.

Definition of Term

Entrepreneurship: Is the process of discovering new ways of combining resources.

Entrepreneur: Is someone who organizes, manages and assumes the risk of a business or enterprise. An entrepreneur is an agent of change

Development:  Can be defined as an event constituting a new stage in a changing situation.

Delinquent: Refers to someone or person who commits a felony, or a young person who regularly does illegal things.

Disciplinary: Procedure are asset way for an employer to deal with disciplinary issues, they should measure a disciplinary, hearing where you are given a chance to explain your side of the story. It is also a systematic procedure formula, or routine by which a task is accomplished.

Modification: Refers to a change in behavior, something, such as a systematic or style in another words modification is a noun that means the act of making something different e.g. a change or alteration usually to make something work better.

Techniques: Is a procedure to complete a task, it is also a systematic method to obtain information of a scientific nature.

Constitutes: Is to make up a whole from smaller part, e.g. what constitutes a family? Means what constitutes or makes up a business associate.  



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