Nigeria’s education for entrepreneurs needs to keep it real, not just in the classroom

Africa is home to more than 200 million people between the ages of 15 and 24, according to UN data. The continent has the largest youth population in the world.

This should be an indication of how much more it can produce. Unfortunately, youth unemployment and lack of employment have hindered productivity, resulting in slow development in Africa.

Shortly after the “Arab Spring”, when the youth helped overthrow the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, the African Development Bank predicted that the lack of good job opportunities in Africa would can destroy the harmony and political stability.

In Nigeria, the 2020 EndSARS strike showed that youth unemployment has become an emergency that needs immediate attention.

The highest rate of unemployment was recorded in Nigeria in 2020 for young people between the ages of 15 and 24.

Even education is not a guarantee of a good job. Unemployment among people with doctorates rose to 16.9% in 2020. Most PhD graduates are mobile. keep on the streets and online to find good jobs that fit the bill.

More than a decade before the EndSARS protests, the Nigerian Ministry of Education, in partnership with the National Universities Commission, introduced a course for the development of entrepreneurial skills in Nigerian universities and making it a compulsory education for the students of the University.

Funds were provided for the establishment of business centers where students and teachers could develop the capacity for an entrepreneurial mindset. These centers are also intended to be places to provide direction and support for faculty and business students.

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The aim is to support the emergence of a university ecosystem where students and teachers create value that attracts income. This will give Nigerian graduates more options in their careers – not just competing for white-collar jobs.

Ten years later, the unemployment rate is still rising. The need to rethink the design, delivery and partnerships for the implementation of Nigeria’s entrepreneurship education program has begun to emerge.

My PhD research sought to contribute to this by examining students’ experience of business education in Lagos and Ogun state universities.

I found that the participating students had a high level of business skills, but did not want to use them. They did not think of business as a way to achieve their goals in life, and are still hoping for white jobs. The solution, I believe, is for the curriculum and educational support to be more authentic about business – in part by using real business people as a resource.

Where to focus for impact

I asked questions to 2,394 final year students and conducted interviews with six directors of business development centers in Lagos and Ogun States.

One thing I wanted to understand is what aspect of business programs can quickly get the necessary effect. Student engagement, student support, quality teaching and teaching resources were the areas I looked at. Of these, quality education has shown the greatest potential to make an immediate impact.

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The essence of business education and management is to know what to teach, what not to teach, and how to teach it. teaching.

In short, self-employed teachers will be better business teachers. Their personal stories will make a big difference.

The data also provide evidence that effective business education programs need to be collaborative.

When it comes to supporting students, only one of the universities in my research had a program in place to help students develop their own businesses. they start. Other universities have provided walk-in opportunities for investors and investors to support student businesses.

Arrangements should be made for student grants, competitions, seed funding, mentoring, acceleration and other opportunities to support student businesses. It is up to the university administration to do this.

The support from foreign partners will be an additional resource rather than a stumbling block to the university’s program.

One of the directors of the Entrepreneurship and Skills Development Centers said that business education is not cheap, but the Government does not have enough education to provide education and training. education. Large classes of over 600 students made it difficult to learn effectively. Students should be able to work in small groups and teams.

Resources to use

It seems that the Government’s funds have decreased, as evidenced by the recent turnover of teachers. So there may be a need to attract other partners to sponsor competitions, clubs and student teams.

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The education of the students should be in direct contact with the realities of business and business. It doesn’t just include reading about, listening to, talking about, or writing about business.

Course providers should provide students with activities that will bring them into contact with the world of business.

Read more: Nigerian universities can make money and get jobs: this is how

Not all parts of the curriculum can be learned by students. There should be connections to provide opportunities for business models to act as mentors, managers and funders of students.

Sometimes the street vendor, street mechanic or street vendor is the best person to teach students about. in starting a business.

Other useful examples are people with years of experience who fail and succeed as an entrepreneur.

Map the way forward

A sustainable business skills development program requires a collaborative approach involving universities, entrepreneurs, successful and successful entrepreneurs and students.

University administrators need structures that open up universities for collaboration with business and industry to provide support in terms of seed funding, infrastructure, human resources and expertise.

Universities should base decisions about interventions and partnerships on data about those most affected.

The competitiveness of university products and services should be encouraged. Business coaches should be valued. The system should introduce a trade-off between theory and practice.


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