Perception of entrepreneurship education in Adekunle Ajasin University: the gender perspective
Nigeria’s poverty level has continued to increase, while unemployment continues to hinder graduates from university and tertiary institutions without much in the way of solutions in sight. In order to cope with this growing problem, entrepreneurship education was introduced to cushion the effect of unemployment among graduates through job creation and self-reliance for economic growth. However, there has developed counter-productive perceptions of entrepreneurship education among the government, administrators, instructors, and students alike which, if not corrected, may culminate in misplaced priorities and missed opportunities.
It is against this background that this study was conducted. It introduces and defines the concept of entrepreneurship, and its necessary role in the face of a formal sector that cannot absorb a rapidly growing educated population. The paper goes on to discuss the perception, and the teaching and learning process, of entrepreneurship education in Adekunle Ajasin University, primarily within the realm of adult education since this was inherently more multi-disciplinary and non-formal, which suits entrepreneurship. A qualitative method of eliciting information through focus groups was used to obtain information from 181 adult education students, while 10 instructors and 5 administrative staff were also interviewed..
Findings show that entrepreneurship education is seen as being different to vocational education by both female and male students and instructors, as it consists of far more theoretical than practical study. It is recommended, however, that entrepreneurship education need to be taught more practically, and domesticated and diversified to meet local needs, contexts and situations. Furthermore, the time and space allocated for such studies are grossly inadequate, and infringe on other courses and programmes at the university. Educators were seen as having insufficient knowledge or skills to teach entrepreneurship, and the courses themselves appeared highly gendered with a very high representation of women attending such courses as textiles, fashion, and catering.
The author concludes that despite the present inadequacy of the state of entrepreneurship education in the university, its contributions to unemployment reduction cannot be overemphasised. Therefore, it is important that the following recommendations be implemented:
Curricula should reflect local and specific needs of the students; this means good local content in textbooks rather than using foreign textbooks which is inimical to local development.
Participatory research incorporating the instructors, and local context and needs is required to help shape the development of curricula.
Traditional classroom formats are inadequate for teaching entrepreneurship education. Instead, action methods and experimental learning should be used by instructors.
Instructors should also avoid testing memory and intelligence in examinations; rather they should focus on creativity of the potential entrepreneurs.
Based on the fact that readiness to learn is essential to success, students should not be coerced into entrepreneurship education.
- The administration and government should exhibit the required commitment towards funding, and putting necessary infrastructure in place in the university.