Entrepreneurship education and employment stimulation in Nigeria
Nigeria is a nation of paradox, with both enormous wealth and a large proportion of its citizens living in abject poverty with worsening unemployment. To tackle these pressing issues, previous governments have initiated diverse poverty reductions policies (PRPs) with the objective of boasting industrial production and employment as a way of reducing joblessness, hopelessness, and crime. However, despite these attempts, poverty and unemployment remained endemic to Nigeria, precipitating a concerted remedial effort with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the introduction of compulsory entrepreneurship education in the curricula of the three levels of higher education in Nigeria. This paper, published in the Journal of Studies in Social Sciences, examines the effectiveness of entrepreneurship education in achieving employment stimulation in Nigeria.
The main objective of the paper is to help refocus entrepreneurship education as a tool for employment stimulation in Nigeria, as well as fast-tracking the realisation of universal primary education and the promotion of gender equality. To this end, the authors explore and discuss a number of relevant theories and frameworks that potentially impact the dynamics of poverty and unemployment in Nigeria, as well as the concept of entrepreneurial education, and it role in Nigerian universities and polytechnics. The authors then employ a systematic collection of quantitative data (including on crime, poverty, unemployment, gender indices, and universal basic education), and subject them to econometric analysis and interpretation.
The data found that entrepreneurship development could be an effective tool for poverty reduction, stimulating employment as well as fast-tracking the realisation of universal primary education, and promoting gender equality. Greater levels of entrepreneurship corresponded with lower levels of unemployment and poverty, although also higher levels of crime. However, challenges remain, particularly regarding a paucity of funds, ineffective teaching, and a lack of resources. The paper recommends that tertiary education institutions must imbibe creativity through training, intensify the integration of entrepreneurship in education systems, hire more experienced specialists, offer industrial tours, placements, and mentorships, and establish Technology Incubation Centres. Additionally, the Federal Ministry of Education should reinvent the one-year National Youth Service as a period for putting into practice the entrepreneurship education learnt in tertiary education institutions.