THE PREPARATION OF YOUTHS FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN HIGHER EDUCATION
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
According to the National Policy on Education (1998), higher education is defined as education provided following secondary education at universities, colleges of education, polytechnics, and monotechnics, as well as institutions offering correspondence courses. The policy's stated objectives for tertiary education in Nigeria are as follows: to contribute to national development through high-level relevant manpower training; to develop and inculcate proper values necessary for individual and societal survival; to develop individuals' intellectual capacity to comprehend and appreciate their local and external environments; and to acquire both physical and intellectual skills that will enable individuals to be self-reliant and useful.
On the other hand, Schumpeter (1994) defines entrepreneurship as the capacity to recognize and pursue business possibilities while maximizing the exploitation of scarce resources. Entrepreneurship, in its simplest form, is the willingness and aptitude to search out investment possibilities and operate a profitable business. Entrepreneurship takes precedence over capital in this latter meaning. It is also more basic than capital since entrepreneurial activity results in capital formation (Tawari, 2002). As a result, entrepreneurs are viewed as essential players in economic progress. Their contributions are made through labor actions, capital goods movement, raw material conversion to completed products, and finally, effective distribution of the products to final customers.
Entrepreneurs are therefore those who seek out and discover economic opportunities, marshal the financial and other resources necessary to develop them, evaluate available alternatives in the environment and allocate resources to the most profitable ones, and ultimately bear responsibility for the management and/or successful execution of opportunities. An entrepreneur is relatively at ease with taking and undertaking risks that are motivated by the pursuit of a goal. He or she is aware of where to obtain assistance and when it is required, as well as being constantly prepared to adapt to changes in the corporate environment (Schumpeter, 1994).
As a result, Nigeria's institutions of higher learning are anticipated to begin educating high-level workers who are often obsessive, focused, eloquent, and resourceful. As a result, graduates tend to be charismatic leaders with an introspective approach to job development, wealth growth, and innovative talent usage.
Additionally, empowering Nigerian youths to contribute to wealth growth, job creation, poverty reduction, and value reorientation is a critical component of a strategic macroeconomic framework (NEEDS, 2005). This is also reflected in the recent surge in demand for entrepreneurial educational programs at the country's academic institutions, parastatals, and non-governmental organizations. If completely realized, this new vision and principles would cast a light on Nigeria's small and medium-sized businesses. Thus, increasing higher education focused on entrepreneurial abilities would provide the ideal environment for economic growth to occur. Higher education institutions are consequently responsible for properly training individual youngsters who will have the required skills to start and run profitable firms with a low chance of failure. Higher education helps to human resource development in a variety of ways through these types of activities. Thus, investment in higher education continues to be a critical component of the nation's economic growth (NEEDS, 2005).
Higher education institutions in Nigeria have been charged with the primary role of teaching both young and professional individuals such as managers, scientists, engineers, and technicians who contribute to the country's innovation development, adaption, and diffusion. Higher education progress in a country is inversely proportional to economic growth (Tawari, 2002). However, comparing the current quality of products produced by institutions of higher learning in the country to the country's laudable higher educational goals reveals that the Nigerian nation has not yet found her path toward achieving the goals set for higher education in terms of preparing youth for entrepreneurship. This research explores the extent to which higher education in Nigeria has truly prepared students for entrepreneurship and the world of work.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
It's important emphasizing again here that entrepreneurs and small enterprises stimulate the economy. Economic development in our country is contingent upon our capacity to generate new employment via entrepreneurship, and effective entrepreneurship requires well-trained graduates from our institutions of higher learning who are eager to seize the reins of venture creation (Tawari, 2002). However, the fundamental question at this point is whether the current level of education supplied by higher institutions in the nation adequately prepares new graduates for entrepreneurship rather than job searching. The preceding concern is predicated on the apparent hues and cry of numerous scholars (Okoroma, 2006) about the low quality and declining standard of tertiary education in Nigeria, which is seriously impeding the system's ability to produce the type of graduates necessary for job creation and genuine economic growth and development in the country.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of this study is to examine the preparation of youths for entrepreneurship in higher education. Specifically, other objectives of this study are:
i. To examine the extent to which higher education influences students desire for entrepreneurship.
ii. To establish if higher education promotes the development of students’ emotional skill for entrepreneurship.
iii. To ascertain ways by which students entrepreneurship skill can be developed during higher education.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions will be answered in this study:
i. To what extent does higher education influences students desire for entrepreneurship?
ii. Does higher education promote the development of students’ emotional skill for entrepreneurship?
iii. What are the ways by which students entrepreneurship skill can be developed during higher education?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is essential because it provides pertinent information on the need to enhance higher education in order to adequately prepare undergraduates for the world of employment. Additionally, it will serve as a sensitization document for students and anyone else who reads it, emphasizing the critical significance of enrolling in entrepreneurial skills development education programs in order to gain essential skills necessary to thrive in a depressed economy.
The study's findings are also intended to raise prospective graduates' awareness of the need of entrepreneurship education.
Additionally, the study is crucial for articulating the necessity for education planners and the authorities of Nigerian university institutions (private and public) to focus their efforts on inculcating entrepreneurial development courses into tertiary institutions' curriculum and programs.
Finally, this study will be beneficial to scholars and researchers as it will serve as an existing material for further studies and future references.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will be focused on examining the preparation of youths for entrepreneurship in higher education. Specifically, this study will focus on examining the extent to which higher education influences students desire for entrepreneurship, establishing if higher education promotes the development of students’ emotional skill for entrepreneurship and ascertain ways by which students entrepreneurship skill can be developed during higher education.
Selected lecturers and students of Afe Babalola University, Ekiti State will form the population of this study.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will be limited to examining the preparation of youths for entrepreneurship in higher education. Specifically, this study will be limited to examining the extent to which higher education influences students desire for entrepreneurship, establishing if higher education promotes the development of students’ emotional skill for entrepreneurship and ascertain ways by which students entrepreneurship skill can be developed during higher education.
Selected lecturers and students of Afe Babalola University, Ekiti State will form the population of this study, thus the sample size was limited because only a few respondents were chosen to answer the research instrument, therefore the results cannot be generalized to other secondary schools outside the state.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Youths: Youth is the time of life when one is young, and often means the time between childhood and adulthood. It is also defined as "the appearance, freshness, vigor, spirit, etc., characteristic of one who is young".
Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship is the creation or extraction of value. With this definition, entrepreneurship is viewed as change, generally entailing risk beyond what is normally encountered in starting a business, which may include other values than simply economic ones.
Higher Education: Higher education is tertiary education leading to award of an academic degree. Higher education, also called post-secondary education, third-level or tertiary education, is an optional final stage of formal learning that occurs after completion of secondary education.