Role of Pedagogy in Development of Effective Entrepreneurship Skill among Polytechnics’ Students in Nigeria (A Case Study of North-Eastern Nigeria)
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ROLE OF PEDAGOGY IN DEVELOPMENT OF EFFECTIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP SKILL AMONG POLYTECHNICS’ STUDENTS IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF NORTH-EASTERN NIGERIA)
Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TET Fund) Sponsored Study
It has been observed that the outcome of the Federal Government’s entrepreneurship education initiative now more than a decade old directed at inculcating entrepreneurial culture in Nigerian graduates of higher educational institutions, has been disappointingly modest. The lucky few graduates who gained paid employment hardly perform without some sort of retraining by their employers, and fewer still are able to independently set up viable economic enterprises. In view of these and related problems, this study investigated the prospect of entrepreneurship education in the polytechnics located in the Northeast geo-political zone of Nigeria. The study adopted cross-sectional survey method. Primary data were collected from a sample of ten polytechnics within the Northeast using a well-structure questionnaire. The data collect were organized using descriptive statistics. The results show that the polytechnics are faced with structural, curricula, pedagogical, and human resource challenges that rendered the overarching objectives of fostering self-reliance, creating jobs, and driving economic growth a great through entrepreneurship education virtually unachievable. Recommendations were advanced to address the challenges identified.
Keywords: Pedagogy, Development, Effective Entrepreneurship, Polytechnic Students.
1.0 Background of the Research
In Nigeria, higher technical education is mainly provided in Polytechnics (and in some few technical universities). Technical education is essentially entrepreneurial; it seeks to equip students with functional knowledge, skills, attitudes and related competences that they may readily apply in creating value, i.e., goods and services (Idogho and Ainabor, 2011). Therefore, Polytechnics are established to produce the highest possible levels of technical manpower to enhance national development (FGN, 2004). The unarticulated caveat is that the Polytechnic system is aligned well enough to achieve the desired objectives. Over the years however, it was realized that products of the Polytechnic system though fairly equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills are most often incapable of using the acquired competences to initiate value adding economic ventures that will contribute to the overall drive of the country at fighting poverty and fostering economic growth and development (Bubou and Okrigwe, 2016).
This type of scenario is not the sole experience of Nigeria; even developed countries with better educational systems such as the United Kingdom do wonder whether graduates are equipped with the right skills (Raybould and Sheedy, 2005). Therefore, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) took the path of promoting entrepreneurship through entrepreneurship education in order to produce a critical mass of graduate entrepreneurs necessary for economic development (Nkamnebe, Mitra, Abubakar and Sagagi, 2015). This was done by simply adding entrepreneurship subjects to the curricula of the various programmes offered in all higher educational institutions (Kabongo and Okpara, 2010).
Laudable as the FGN’s pro-entrepreneurship efforts are, the implementation lacks a defined strategy dovetailed to the peculiarities of fostering the entrepreneurial spirit among students under the formal education system. Therefore, the focus of almost all of the entrepreneurship programmes is correctly on the provision of entrepreneurial competences, the delivery ended up using the inappropriate pedagogic mechanism widely used in Nigeria’s HEIs the lecture method (Acs, 2010). Thus, students ended up learning by rote some concepts in entrepreneurship just to pass the written examination. In as much as the end envisaged of entrepreneurship education is to produce actual entrepreneurs who will initiate and nurture viable enterprises for sustainable economic development of the nation, the FGN’s programmes are a monumental failure, as evidenced by the rising levels of graduate unemployment, widespread poverty, and falling economic indicators (Animn, 2012). In fact, Adejimola and Olufunmilayo (2019) reported that about 70% of the Polytechnic graduates find it difficult to get employment every year. Why?
One of the major gaps in the success potentials of the entrepreneurship programmes of Nigeria’s HEIs lies not only in the use of the wrong pedagogy but also in the blurring of the distinction between small business management and entrepreneurship. The two fields are often erroneously treated as one and the same (Solomon, Duffy and Tarabishy, 2002). A cursory perusal of the entrepreneurship curriculum current in all the Polytechnics reveals that the courses offered are variously titled Small Business Management, Business Entrepreneurship, Small Business Start Up, Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship Development Programme, and similar nomenclatures. However, the contents of the courses remain virtually identical, and were designed not for entrepreneurship education but obviously about entrepreneurship education and delivered to students via the lecture mode. Furthermore, evaluation of students’ performance in the entrepreneurship courses is by written examination, an evaluation approach equally as inappropriate as the pedagogy used in teaching the courses. Students end up getting the scores and not the skills. One of the research proposers could well remember scoring an “A” in the course Computer Appreciation without ever having assembled a simple desktop or booting same, simply because there were no computers then, and their lecturer had to teach using his lecture notes only plus the ubiquitous chalk board.
Hence, if entrepreneurship education is to produce the needed graduate entrepreneurs capable of generating real growth and wealth and fighting poverty, the challenge to educators will be to craft entrepreneurial courses, programmes and major fields of study that meet the rigours of academia while keeping a reality-based focus and entrepreneurial climate in the learning experience environment (Block and Stumpf, 1992). In other words, there is the imperative for entrepreneurial education to focus more on the end result envisaged (sustainable supply of graduate entrepreneurs), and employ more experientially-based pedagogies in the course delivery process. This imperative provides the justification for the need to reconsider the contents of all entrepreneurship programmes offered in Nigerian Polytechnics, design an appropriate pedagogy for teaching the programmes, develop effective evaluation strategies, and situate the entire programme in the most relevant unit in the Polytechnics for outcome-focused implementation. This is the thrust of this research.
1.1 Statement of the Research Problem
In spite of the introduction of compulsory entrepreneurship education in Nigerian Polytechnics, many graduates are still unemployed after graduation because they lack effective entrepreneurial skills. It seems like entrepreneurship education is not achieving the objectives for which it was initiated. Therefore, there is need to examine the process of instructional delivery in entrepreneurship education classes in order to produce graduate entrepreneurs.
1.2 Objectives of the Research
The problem associated with entrepreneurship education as presently obtainable in Nigerian Polytechnics underpins this research study. Accordingly, the general purpose of this study is to evaluate the contents, pedagogical processes, management structures and expected outcomes of entrepreneurship education as currently provided by all the Polytechnics of the Northeast geo-political sub-region of Nigeria with a view to developing a more outcome-focused alternative that helps generate the critical mass of entrepreneurial graduates upon whose subsequent activities the socio-economic development of the region in particular and the nation in general rests.
2.0 Literature Review
2.1 Definition of Entrepreneurship
In 2005 the entrepreneurship division of the Academy of Management conducted a survey among its members, supplying them with a choice of possible definitions for entrepreneurship, to vote for a statement about the specific domain entrepreneurship division. The majority voted for the following one: Specific Domain: the creation and management of new businesses, small businesses and family businesses, and the characteristics and special problems of entrepreneurs. Major topics include: new venture ideas and strategies, ecological influences on venture creation and demise, the acquisition and management of venture capital and venture teams, self-employment, the owner-manager, management succession, corporate venturing and the relationship between entrepreneurship and economic development. Due to this variety of topics including elements of several domains such as economics, sociology, and psychology just, to name a few, there is still no generally accepted definition of “entrepreneurship” or the “entrepreneur.”
In fact, the lack of a commonly recognized definition of these terms is seen as one major obstacle for researchers in contributing to the understanding of this phenomenon (Shane and Venkataraman, 2000). A large number of definitions have been given in many research contributions dealing solely with the issue of defining entrepreneurship. These definitions often focus on certain aspects. Shapero (1975, p. 187) thinks of entrepreneurship as a kind of behaviour that includes:
(i) initiative taking,
(ii) the organizing or recognizing of social economic mechanisms to torn resources and situations to a practical account, and
(ii) the acceptance of risk of failure.
Gartner (1988, p. 64) takes a behavioral approach and considers entrepreneurship as a role that individuals undertake to create organizations. He adds that entrepreneurship ends when the creation stage of the organization ends. The pursuit of opportunities is central to the definition of Stevenson, Roberts and Grousbeck (1989, p. 23): Entrepreneurship is a process by which individuals either on their own or inside organizations pursue opportunities without regard to the resources they currently control. This definition does not necessarily postulate that the creation of an organization is involved in being an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship can also occur within organizations, building a bridge to the concept of intrapreneurship. Finally, Shane and Venkataraman (2000, p. 218) give a definition of entrepreneurship as a scientific discipline. They define it as the scholarly examination of how, by whom, and with what effects opportunities to create future goods and services are discovered, evaluated and exploited. Consequently, the field involves the study of sources of opportunities; the process of discovery, evaluation, and exploitation of opportunities; and the set of individuals who discover, evaluate, and exploit them.
Following this latter definition, we define entrepreneurship in the context of this research project as the discovery, evaluation and exploitation of opportunities to create future goods and services by a natural individual through the creation of a new organization. In this report, we call these new organizations start-ups or new businesses and use the term “to start an own business” for any entrepreneurial activity as defined above.
2.2 Meaning of Entrepreneurship Education
A number of academic works have reported on the state of the art of entrepreneurship education (Block and Stumpf, 1992; Gorman, Hanlon and King, 2007; Onstenk, 2003; Trivedi, 2014; Weber, 2011; West III, Gatewood, and Shaver, 2009). While most of these works were not explicit on the definition of entrepreneurship education, one paper states that “educational orientation, teaching strategies, learning styles, curricula design and entrepreneurship structures” (Gorman, Hanlon and King, 1997 p. 26 p. 26) are the most relevant dimensions to consider in defining the term entrepreneurship. Other researchers present a framework of entrepreneurial orientations consisting of “conformist, adaptive, transformative” and process approaches (Bechard and Toulouse, 1998). More recently, entrepreneurship education is championed as a mainstay of any entrepreneurship ecosystem (Isenberg, 2010; Fetters et al, 2010; Neck, Greene and Brush, 2014). The list of varying conceptualizations of the term may go on indefinitely. Thus, there is no substantive agreement about what entrepreneurship means in educational settings and the appropriate content of programmes is under permanent discussion (Gibb, 2002).
Entrepreneurship Education, according to Ekankumo and Kemebaradikumo (2011), is that education which assists students to develop positive attitudes, innovation and skills for self-reliance, rather than depending on the government for employment. This definition was apparently proffered against the backcloth of the government’s rationale for championing entrepreneurship education as a panacea to the rising levels of graduate unemployment occasioned by the massive graduate turnout from Nigeria’s HEIs and the concomitant inability of both the private and public sectors of the Nigerian economy to absorb these graduates. Whatever the rationale, entrepreneurship education was provided was considered a vehicle for teaching entrepreneurship to students. Looked from the other side, entrepreneurship education is meant to provide students the opportunity to learn entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship teaching is the process of providing individuals with the knowledge and skills to recognize opportunities that others have overlooked and to have the insight, self-esteem, and confidence to act where others have hesitated (Summit Consulting LLC. 2009). Entrepreneurship teaching aims to be a source of trigger-events aiming to inspire students, arouse emotions, and change mind-sets (Al-Laham, Souitaris, and Zerbinati, 2007). On the other hand, entrepreneurial learning is a problem-solving process centered on the acquisition, storage and use of entrepreneurial knowledge in long term memory (Rae and Carswell, 2000). This harmony in the outcomes of teaching and learning entrepreneurship can be operationalized effectively only if there is harmony between the enabling instrument for entrepreneurship education (a policy), the extant curriculum and course specifications on entrepreneurship, the relevant entrepreneurial pedagogy, teaching facilities and resources, and institutional infrastructure. At present, such harmony seems to be elusive in Nigerian Polytechnics. For the purposes of this research, we define entrepreneurship education as a method whereby students of all classes practice the art and science of creating, finding, and acting on opportunities of creating economically valuable and needed goods and services (Neck, Brush and Greene, 2014).
Entrepreneurship education within HEIs generally consists of a nested set of activities, including curriculum, co-curricular activities, and research efforts (Brush, 2015; and Kuratko, 2005) geared towards the production of ready-to-act potential entrepreneurs. Importantly, the decisions around entrepreneurship education include everything from learning objectives, topics covered, selection of materials (including cases, exercises, and concepts), pedagogy, and delivery mechanisms (Brush, 2015, p. 30). Each of these decisions should flow from an institution’s intentionally selected definition of entrepreneurship, along with the role of theory and the degree of integration across classes, programmes, etc. (Neck, Greene, and Brush, 2014). Entrepreneurship education also varies across audiences. For instance, programmes focused on youth (primary and secondary school) may focus on the desirability and feasibility of business start-ups in order to influence the students’ intentions (Peterman and Kennedy, 2003). At the polytechnic or university level, the programme may focus more on skills and competencies associated with developing venture ideas, pathways into entrepreneurship, market testing, and building a business model. In local training area, curricula might focus on ways to launch a small firm, become self-employed, or to buy a franchise.
Audience might also be defined by the type of business being pursued. In the U.S., entrepreneurship education, particularly that offered through academic institutions, is often viewed as targeted toward the development of fast growth, technology-based businesses, while in Europe, entrepreneurship education is often more connected to the SME community (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises). In China, the focus is usually on a more general “start-up” approach (Zhou and Xu, 2012), and in Qatar it is on diversification into non-oil-related businesses. The audience in Nigeria closely follows that of Europe, as the focus is on the generation of a critical mass of small and medium entrepreneurs who are expected to catalyse the process of employment generation and economic development generally. Across countries, there are different emphases, depending on the context and, in some cases, industrial policy. For instance, New Zealand and Ireland have supported the creative industries, while Israel has supported internet and other electronic technologies. Nigerian support mainly goes to SMEs in line with most of the policy objectives of Federal Government’s Entrepreneurship Development Programmes. Overall, “a growing critique of entrepreneurship education is that it needs to give more attention to the development of entrepreneurial attitudes, aspirations, and activities” (Regele and Neck, 2012, p. 25) or what has been referred to as the entrepreneurial mindset.
Although research regarding the effectiveness of entrepreneurship education has grown over time (Gartner and Vesper, 1994; Henry, Hill, and Leitch, 2005; Dickson, Solomon, and Weaver, 2008), there are questions about the overall impact in the actual increase in the number of businesses (Weaver, Dickson, and Solomon, 2008; Honig, 2004; Sarasvathy, 2001). Yet this narrow outcome of new business formation in entrepreneurship education has come under recent scrutiny (Vanevenhoven and Liguori, 2013). As a result, impact is now being measured by the relative increase in positive perceptions of entrepreneurship and even an intentionality toward being entrepreneurial. The actual relationship between those intentions and actual entrepreneurial behaviours remains an active area of study, but emerging findings suggest that there is indeed a positive relationship between entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial behaviors (Singer, Amoros and Moska, 2015).
As entrepreneurship education has advanced, so has our understanding of what is required to learn and practice entrepreneurship. Today greater attention is placed on cultivating the entrepreneurial mindset of students, and such a mindset is the precursor to both behaviour and action. Ground-breaking research (Sarasvathy, 2008) has empirically supported that entrepreneurs do think in a particular way that distinguishes them from managers. However, this is in stark contrast to trait theorists (Fisher and Koch, 2008; Miner, 1996; McClelland, 1965), who believe entrepreneurs possess certain innate personality characteristics. The entrepreneurial mindset is learnable and teachable; innate traits are not. The entrepreneurial thinking patterns discovered and supported by ongoing research (Sarasvathy, 2008; Neck and Greene, 2011; Noyes and Brush, 2012; Greenberg, McKone-Sweet and Wilson, 2011) are fundamentally changing how we approach entrepreneurship education. The starting point is no longer the idea, the opportunity, or the business plan; rather, it’s now about developing a mindset of acting, doing and creating.
2.3 Justification of Entrepreneurship Education Programmes
Various researchers have already attempted to assess empirically the impact of entrepreneurship education programmes on their students, controlling for the personal and environmental factors that might influence their orientations and behaviours (Lüthje and Franke, 2003). In particular, researchers have demonstrated that a favorable teaching environment might improve the way students consider entrepreneurship as a career option. Johannisson (1991) and Autio et al. (1997) underscore the impact of students’ perceptions of entrepreneurship, along with resources and other support mechanisms available in the environment of HEIs, on students’ attitudes towards entrepreneurial careers. Other research has shown the importance of the social status of entrepreneurial activities and situations (Begley et al., 1997) and the statistical link between the level of entrepreneurial intention and the number of management courses taken by students enrolled in other programmes (Chen et al., 1998).
On the other hand, entrepreneurship education programmes have been shown to influence both the current behaviour and the future intentions of their participants (Kolvereid and Moen, 1997; Tkachev and Kolvereid, 1999; Linan, 2004), with significant differences observed between students who had taken entrepreneurship courses and those who had not. Noel (2001) looked specifically at the impact of entrepreneurship training on the development of entrepreneurial intention and the perception of self-efficacy. The students in this sample had all taken an entrepreneurship education programme and were graduates in entrepreneurship, management or another discipline. Noel’s findings at least partially confirmed the assumption that the entrepreneurship graduates were more likely to launch businesses and had a higher level of intention and a more developed perception of self-efficacy than other students. Other researchers have tried to explain the relationship between entrepreneurship programmes and individual characteristics, such as need for achievement and locus of control (Hansemark, 1998) or the perception of self-efficacy (Ehrlich et al., 2000). They found that entrepreneurship education had a positive impact, enhancing these characteristics and the likelihood of entrepreneurial action at some point in the future.
Several researchers have attempted to identify whether specific educational variables (course content, teaching methods, teacher profile, resources and support, and so on) might significantly influence the outcome of a programme in terms of attitudes, values or knowledge. For example, Varela and Jimenez (2001), in a longitudinal study, chose groups of students from five programmes in three universities in Colombia. They found that the highest entrepreneurship rates were achieved in institutions that had invested the most in entrepreneurship guidance and training for their students. Dilts and Fowler (1999) attempted to show that certain teaching methods (internships and field learning) were more successful than others at preparing students for an entrepreneurial career. Finally, Lüthje and Franke (2003) discussed the importance of certain contextual factors within the university environment that hinder or facilitate the access of technical students to entrepreneurial behaviour. Their findings mirror the essential elements of the Fayolle-Gailly model of entrepreneurship education (Fayolle and Gailly, 2008). For the purpose of this study, we shall adopt the said theory. Before discussing the Fayolle-Gailly Model of entrepreneurship education, it is germane to present the changing nature of entrepreneurship education as the justification for the use of the selected model.
2.4 Theory of Entrepreneurship Education
Embedded on the literature (Anderson, 1995; Joyce and Weil, 1996), and extending work in entrepreneurship education by Bechard and Gregoire (2005, 2007), Fayolle and Gailly (2008) have produced an entrepreneurship teaching model framework which they fittingly describe as “a canonic teaching model.” The framework assists us in the understanding entrepreneurship teaching and learning (Fayolle and Gailly, 2008), as it allows for the integration of a number of dimensions which arise at the ontological and educational levels.
2.5 Methods and Pedagogies
Entrepreneurial education programmes may be both formal (that is, structured education) and non-formal (De Faoite et al., 2004). Courses typically include structured education and informal support. Structured education usually focuses on developing technical skills, business management skills and personal entrepreneurial skills (Hisrich and Peters, 1989) with financial management, marketing and management knowledge (De Faoite et al., 2004). But how should these formal skills and knowledge be imparted? Informal supports for graduate entrepreneurs include mentoring, business counselling, financing and networking opportunities are other ways of delivering support. Mentoring is highly recommended as a support mechanism for graduate entrepreneurs (Carter, 2000; Tillmar, 2007).
Mention is also given to course timing and duration. Entrepreneurship education should take students’ typical daily lives into account (Allen, Langowitz and Minniti, 2007; Delmar and Holmquist, 2003). Programme organizers should avoid, for example, scheduling two-week intensive full-time courses which may not fit in with students’ other curricula and non-curricula commitments (Watkins and Watkins, 1984; Ehlers and Main, 1998). There is a considerable lack of research with regard to the methods and pedagogies of teachers specifically involved in entrepreneurship education. To what extent are real-life or virtual cases, role plays and problem simulations used in such education? Are teaching approaches participative or interactive? To what extent is learning by doing encouraged? Clearly, there are many pertinent methodology and pedagogical style questions yet to be answered.
2.6 The Problem of Entrepreneurial Pedagogy
Business courses as the precursors to entrepreneurship programmes tend to be highly structured (Sexton and Bowman, 1984) because structured environments are generally the best for teaching. At the onset of the onboarding of entrepreneurship education in HEIs, the business education model was readily and simply used in teaching entrepreneurship courses. Tell students what you want them to know, have them apply that knowledge, and remind them what you told them by correcting their performance. But uncertainty and ambiguity are an inherent part of the entrepreneurial experience. In structuring their educational experience, the teacher eliminates the uncertainty and ambiguity that inhibit the educational process and that students generally dislike, but in doing so, the teacher creates an artificial, academic environment that bears little resemblance to the uncertain and even chaotic environment within which entrepreneurs must operate.
Creating structure is work for the teacher, but most of this work precedes the start of the course with the design of the course, the codification of this design in the course syllabus, and the preparation of teaching materials. Over time, the work done in structuring the course reduces the overall amount of work that the teacher must put into the course. In the long run, structured course is easier for the teacher. It is also easier for the students. It lets students know what they need to do and how to allocate their time. Less time is wasted on wrong turns or fruitless searches for information.
But does a structured environment best prepare students for an entrepreneurial career? Sexton and Bowman (1984) argued that entrepreneurship courses should be relatively unstructured. Many of those currently teaching entrepreneurship were trained in related fields where highly structured approaches can be effective; they initially used a highly structured approach when they first started teaching entrepreneurship only to become disillusioned with this approach because of doubts about its effectiveness. This disillusionment may come from seeing a lack of creativity in assignments for which the teacher provided detailed instructions. It can also come from watching students flounder when given more ambiguous assignments in the context of a practicum project or an internship with an entrepreneur. One of the most powerful sources of disillusionment of a structured approach comes from seeing former students, whom the teacher felt had developed very strong entrepreneurial skills, avoid entrepreneurial careers because of apparent discomfort with the uncertainty involved. While teachers may come to this realization through different paths, their destination – disillusionment with a highly structured approach to entrepreneurship pedagogy – is the same.
A logical response to this situation is to decrease the structure in entrepreneurial courses, but teaching in a less structured environment is more challenging for the teacher, the students, and for the institution in which the teaching occurs. Ironically, less structured approaches are often resisted by the students with the highest grades because these students have adapted well to the typical structured environment in higher education classrooms and tend not to perform as well in less structured environments. Less structured approaches tend to garner less respect from administrators and colleagues in other business disciplines. Applying a less structured approach simply goes against the grain in most institutions of higher education.
Entrepreneurship teachers thus face a dilemma in determining the amount of pedagogical structure to apply in their classrooms. More structure greases the educational process and is generally preferred by everyone involved. But increasing structure also undermines the effectiveness of the teacher and the course in preparing students for entrepreneurial careers. When teachers eliminate or reduce uncertainty and ambiguity for their students, they deny these students valuable experience in handling uncertainty and ambiguity conditions which are paramount in the entrepreneurial process (Jeffrey and Dean, 2006).
The common means for mitigating the dilemma of pedagogical structure is to employ a combination of structured and unstructured activities – by structuring courses and most course activities but also including activities that require students to create their own structure. Entrepreneurship programs address this dilemma by structuring introductory entrepreneurship course and by requiring students to show more initiative and to create more of their own structure in advanced entrepreneurship courses. In both courses and programs, there is a sequence from more structured to less structured as the students advance through the courses or program. Courses requiring a very high tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity are often elective rather than required course, allowing students who are not comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity to avoid courses that would be unpleasant for them. But allowing students to avoid experience with uncertainty and ambiguity undermines their entrepreneurial training and can lead to inaccurate perceptions of entrepreneurial careers.
As students’ progress to less structured educational environments, the entrepreneurship teacher’s role changes from teacher to mentor or advisor. Because it is difficult to excel at both of these roles, teachers tend to specialize. Those with a primarily academic background tend to be more involved in the structured, introductory courses. Teachers with more practical experience or with extensive teaching experience tend to teach the less structured, more applied entrepreneurship courses. Just as some students are more comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity, so too are some teachers. The nature of the teacher’s background helps to explain this difference, but it is also likely that underlying personality traits affect both teachers’ career paths and their tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity.
Structure is essential to entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship pedagogy. Entrepreneurship teachers need to provide the structure for their assignments, courses, and programs, but entrepreneurship students need experience creating structure, especially in contexts of high uncertainty and ambiguity. Entrepreneurship teachers need the benefit of structure, but they also need to selectively refrain from providing structure and to push their students to develop their own structure.
No matter how dedicated, industrious, intelligent, innovative, and experienced entrepreneurship teachers are, they cannot do everything they would like to do for their students because helping entrepreneurship students in one way often hurts them in another way. For example, providing more pedagogical structure facilitates learning but fails to prepare students for the uncertainty that will face as entrepreneurs. Building students’ confidence makes them stronger entrepreneurs but also makes them less careful. Teaching students’ practical knowledge eases their transition to entrepreneurial careers but also narrows their knowledge base. Encouraging students to imitate others helps them develop a practical skill but undermines their learning. Fostering entrepreneurship preferences directs some students to rewarding careers but leads others to inappropriate careers. There is nothing that entrepreneurship teachers can do to eliminate these abiding trade-offs. Entrepreneurship teachers are caught between a rock and a hard place; they face a dilemma.
As entrepreneurship education has advanced, so has our understanding of what is required to learn and practice entrepreneurship. Today greater attention is placed on cultivating the entrepreneurial mindset of students, and such a mindset is the precursor to both behaviour and action. The entrepreneurial mindset is learnable and teachable.
4.0 Research Methodology
Otokiti (2005) identifies the following nine types of research methods as those commonly used in entrepreneurship research: experiment, survey, case study, action process, grounded theory, ethnographic, archives, ipso facto, and observation. The choice of method depends on the research questions asked and the objectives of the research. A quantitative research method was adopted for this study. The study was designed to combine primary survey-based data with secondary information from polytechnic documents. For the purpose of this study, the cross-sectional method was used. Again, a number of modes of survey administration exist, but for the purpose of this study, the written (questionnaire) mode was employed. Overall, a well-structured questionnaire was administered on teachers who take entrepreneurship courses, and semi-structured interviews were conducted with senior academics/schools including directors of the entrepreneurship development centers in the sampled polytechnics. The idea behind this was to obtain cross-referencing data and some independent confirmation of data, as well as a range of opinions.
4.1 Sources and Method of Data Collection
This study combined secondary and primary data. The primary data were sourced through a well-structured questionnaire. We utilised a questionnaire to obtain information needed on the challenges facing entrepreneurship education in Nigeria. Interview sessions were also scheduled with some senior academics/faculty to document the process, nature and mode of teaching of entrepreneurship programmes in Nigeria. The secondary data were obtained mainly from the curriculum and course specifications issued by the NBTE for the various programmes run in the polytechnics.
4.2 Population of the study
The population of the study is divided into eight strata, with each stratum representing a polytechnic. Taraba State Polytechnic was excluded from the study due to non-accessibility of information. Respondents were then drawn from the eight strata (polytechnics). The respondents consist of teachers who teach any entrepreneurship subject including small business management in all the eight polytechnics within the Northeast geopolitical sub-region of Nigeria.
4.3 Sampling Techniques and Sample Size Determination
We utilised a mix of probability and non-probability sampling techniques were utilised in selecting the sample respondents for the study. The probability stratified random sample was used in selecting the sample polytechnics. In stratified sampling, we first divide all elements of the population into strata, then we select independent respondent samples within each stratum. The selection of respondents from each stratum (polytechnic) utilised the snowball non-probability sampling technique. Programme coordinators are selected as the first set of respondents. The number of programme coordinators to be selected from each stratum (polytechnic) is limited by the number of programmes run in the polytechnic. The higher the number of programmes in any given polytechnic, the higher the number of respondent coordinators that were selected. These respondent coordinators were then requested to select staff who are teaching entrepreneurship and or small business courses or have taught same in the last five years. Finally, each programme coordinator is asked to suggest 2 teachers, presumably one each for entrepreneurship course and small business management course. In addition to programme coordinators as respondents and teachers of entrepreneurship and or small business management courses, one director of entrepreneurship development centre from each of the eight participating polytechnic is selected as respondent too.
As mentioned earlier, the total number of fully and interim-accredited programmes (both ND and NHD) available in the eight selected polytechnics was used as the basis in determining the proportionate size of respondents to select from each participating polytechnic. Table 4.1 shows the distribution of fully and interim accredited programmes in the eight polytechni2cs under study. Based on Table 4.1 therefore, the final sample size for this study is 241 as disaggregated in Table 4.2 according to participating polytechnics and respondent types.
|Table 4.1: Distribution of Full and Interim Accredited Programmes|
|Federal Polytechnic Bali||6||–||–||6||6|
|Federal Polytechnic Bauchi||13||38||27||24||51|
|Federal Polytechnic Damaturu||8||11||8||11||19|
|Federal Polytechnic Mubi||25||25||18||32||50|
|Mai Idris Alooma Polytechnic Geidam||3||–||–||3||3|
|Ramat Polytechnic Maiduguri||15||22||15||22||37|
|Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic Bauchi||3||5||–||8||8|
|Adamawa State Polytechnic Yola||16||3||3||16||19|
|Table 4.2: Distribution of Respondents by Institution and Types|
|Federal Polytechnic Bali||6||1||5||12|
|Federal Polytechnic Bauchi||51||1||5||57|
|Federal Polytechnic Damaturu||19||1||5||25|
|Federal Polytechnic Mubi||50||1||5||56|
|Mai Idris Alooma Polytechnic Geidam||3||1||5||9|
|Ramat Polytechnic Maiduguri||37||1||5||43|
|Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic Bauchi||8||1||5||14|
|Adamawa State Polytechnic Yola||19||1||5||25|
Key: A = Programme coordinators; B = Directors of entrepreneurship centres; C = Teachers of entrepreneurship and small business programmes
4.4 Distribution of Questionnaires and Response rate
A total of two hundred and forty-one (241) copies of the questionnaire were administered across the five states in eight polytechnics of the Northeast geopolitical sub-region covered by the study. The distribution of the questionnaire was based on the distribution of the participating polytechnics as well as the number of programmes run at both ND and HND levels in the polytechnics. Following the principles of snowballing, the programme coordinators at the various polytechnics were first chosen, and subsequently each one of them were to suggest a further five respondents each.
4.5 Data Collection Methods and Research Instrument
Several data collection methods considered for this study include participatory observation, in-depth interviews, postal surveys, telephone surveys and a well-structured questionnaire. A well-structured questionnaire and in-depth interviews were considered as the most appropriate data collection instruments for this study. However, it was not possible for the researcher to meet the 623 respondents considered for the study, the assistance of clients’ loan officers was sought. The service of research assistants was employed and they worked with the loan officers for maximum co-operation. The questionnaire ensured that questions posed to all respondents are uniformly phrased, so as to allow objective comparisons of results obtained. The questionnaire was structured to elicit information on the challenges of entrepreneurship education in Nigerian polytechnics. The questionnaire is a combination of closed and open-ended questions. The open-ended questions permitted the respondents to give detailed answers, most of them being actual figures. The questionnaire was divided into twelve sections.
4.6 Method of Data Analysis
The data collected for this study was analysed using both descriptive and analytical statistics. Descriptive statistics deals with those methods involving the collection, organisation, presentation, and characterization of a set of data in order to properly describe the various features of that set of data. Accordingly, the appropriate location and covariance of the variables under study were calculated and interpreted. Inferential statistics, on the other hand, deals with those methods that make possible the making of a decision concerning a population based only upon sample statistics. Thus, the measures of location and covariance calculated will further be used in explaining, predicting, and generalising the purport of the results of the study.
5.0 Data Presentation
The results of this study and discuss same according to the serial presentation of the objectives of the study. This is informed by the logic in the listing of the objectives. The first objective sets the tune of the research by extracting what the respondents feel is or are the main ends of entrepreneurship education. The ends usually influence the choice of means by which such ends may be achieved. Thus, the subsequent results explain and deepen our understanding of the challenges facing entrepreneurship education in Nigeria. It should be noted that data on some of the objectives mentioned above were captured using Likert-like scales featuring SA=Strongly agree, A=Agree, D=Disagree, and SD=Strongly disagree as anchors for the scales.
5.1 Main Goals of Entrepreneurship Education Programmes
We utilized Interman’s (1992) typology of entrepreneurship to present our respondents with four main goals of entrepreneurship education: namely, entrepreneurship awareness, business creation, small business development, and training of trainers. Our respondents differ widely as to what is or are the main objectives of entrepreneurship education.
|Table 5.1: Perception of Goals of Entrepreneurship Education|
|Main Goals of Entrepreneurship Education||Degree of Agreement|
On the average, data in Table 5.1 shows that most of the academics/faculty responsible for implementation of entrepreneurship education in Nigerian polytechnics are of the view that the main objective of the programme is three-pronged: to elicit from students an awareness of entrepreneurship, and use such awareness to hopefully set up businesses of their own or assist in the development of existing business. Most of the respondents are, however, emphatic that the programme is not a train the trainer programme, meaning that the students are actually the end product of the programme with no expectations for spin-off effect such that future associates of the beneficiary students are not taken into account as likely second-level beneficiaries of the entrepreneurial competencies the students acquired.
When queried about the nature of the entrepreneurship education offered in their polytechnics, the respondents were divided along three dimensions (Table 5.1). Some were of the view that their main task is to prepare students to be able to create businesses after graduation. This we term entrepreneurship education for enterprise. Others were of the opinion that entrepreneurship education is meant to merely raise students’ awareness about the usefulness of entrepreneurship as a catalyst for self-reliance in the future. This we term entrepreneurship education about enterprise. Yet others averred that the programme is designed with existing entrepreneurs in mind to train them to be able to develop and grow their existing business ventures. This we term entrepreneurship education in enterprise.
|Table 5.2: On the Nature of Entrepreneurship Education|
|Nature of Entrepreneurship||Frequency||%|
|Entrepreneurship education about enterprise||186||77.18|
|Entrepreneurship education for enterprise||50||20.75|
|Entrepreneurship education in enterprise||5||2.07|
Table 5.2, however, shows that most of the teachers and faculty (77.18%) responsible for implementing the programme in the polytechnics firmly believe that entrepreneurship education is all about enterprise, just to arose students’ awareness about entrepreneurship as a possible career option. This inclination has important consequence on the methods and strategies they employ in teaching the entrepreneurial courses assigned to them.
5.2 Learning Objectives of Entrepreneurship Education
To determine what learners are expected to ultimately take away as a result of taking an entrepreneurship course, we use Johannsson’s (1991) schema to probe what our respondents’ views concerning the learning objectives they seek to achieve in teaching entrepreneurship to their students. Learning objectives are what students will be able to do on completion of any given entrepreneurial programme. To determine this important objective with respect to entrepreneurship courses taught in our participating polytechnics, we accordingly asked our respondents to indicate their level agreement with respect to the five dimensions of Johannsson’s (1991) entrepreneurial learning objectives.
The data in Table 5.3 makes it very clear that teaching staff handling entrepreneurship courses are greatly influenced by their conception of the overarching goals of entrepreneurship education. It has been shown in Table 5.3 that most of the teachers of entrepreneurship agree that the most important objective of entrepreneurship education is to raise students’ awareness of the importance of entrepreneurship. This may explain why over half of them (69.30%) strongly agree/agree that the most important learning objective of the entire entrepreneurship education programme is to develop in participant an appreciation of the why of entrepreneurship is important in the overall programmes they study.
|Table 5.3: Learning Objectives of Entrepreneurship Education|
|Entrepreneurship Learning Objectives||Degree of Agreement|
|Develop the know why||89||36.93||78||32.37||52||21.58||22||9.13|
|Acquire the know how||59||24.48||59||24.48||62||25.73||61||25.31|
|Gain the know who||50||20.75||50||20.75||72||29.88||70||29.05|
|Master the know when||49||20.33||51||21.16||73||30.29||69||28.63|
|Attain the know what||45||18.67||49||20.33||79||32.78||69||28.63|
5.6 Teaching Methods and Strategies
We investigated the teaching methods and strategies teachers used in delivering to students the objectives the entrepreneurship courses they handle. Table 5.6 below shows the distribution of our respondents with regards to the teaching methods they most frequently use. Respondents were informed that they can select multiple methods provided they use them frequently in teaching entrepreneurship courses.
|Table 5.4: Distribution of Respondents by Use of Teaching Method|
|Teaching Methods||Frequency of Use|
VF= Very frequent; F=Frequent; S=Sometimes; R=Rarely; N=Never; EDCs=Entrepreneurship development centres.
We discover that most of the respondents utilize the lecture method to the utter neglect of other approaches universally deemed more appropriate to entrepreneurship education. Indeed, the traditional forms of teaching such as lectures and course notes (popularly called handouts) are quite inappropriate with respect to the development of psychomotor and affective competences critical to the emergence of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship culture in the society. As shown in Table 5.6 above, the dominant teaching methods used by most of our respondents are lectures and course notes (handouts), which may or may not be delivered in a manner designed to stimulate entrepreneurial behaviour or develop entrepreneurial skills and attributes in the students. These methods approach are anti-entrepreneurial modes of teaching because of their emphasis on rational/analytical analysis (cognitive) rather than intuitive decision-making and creative experiment. We noted that case studies and business plan preparation are used with significant frequency. In case studies, students discuss a fictional or factual narrative that illustrates specific concepts. A large number of entrepreneurship-related teaching cases are available, and new ones can be developed or adapted quickly. However, lack of sufficient local content coverage is a common complaint against cases, but if the instructional goal is to develop thinking and ability to apply content knowledge to new problems, this should not be a significant weakness.
In general, the most popular teaching methods in entrepreneurship education are creation of lectures, business plans, and case studies in that order of frequency of use. If the objective of the education is to increase the understanding of what entrepreneurship is about, the most effective way to accomplish the objective is to provide information through public channels such as lectures. These methods are effective in terms of sending the relevant information to the target student population in a relative short time period. If the objective is to equip individuals with entrepreneurial skills, which are applicable directly to work, the lecture method is the most inappropriate one to employ. In such case, the best method is to provide education and training that enable individuals to involve directly in the entrepreneurial process, such as SIWES. Lastly, if the objective of the education is to prepare individuals to act as entrepreneurs, the most effective technique is to facilitate experiments by trying entrepreneurship out in a controlled environment, for instance through business simulation or role playing.
5.7 Methods for Assessing Students’ Performance
Analysis of the how students’ performance in the entrepreneurship courses were assessed also revealed further challenges facing entrepreneurship education in Nigerian polytechnics. Information in Table 5.7 shows that most of the teachers of entrepreneurship courses use the same assessment method in evaluating students’ performance in their course, with almost all of them using paper-based examination in the form of course work and course test, and just a negligible number of them (4.56%) using some form of practical.
|Table 5.5: Respondents’ Use of Assessment Methods|
|Course Work (Examination)||241||100||0||0.00|
|Table 5.6: Allotted Marks in Entrepreneurship Courses (Standard)|
|Distribution||ND (%)||HND (%)|
|Course work (Examination)||75||40|
Source: ND/HND Business Administration and Management Curriculum and Course Specifications, 2004
Table 5.8 shows that at the ND level, examinations and tests take 75% of the marks, with only 25% reserved for practical (which include projects, business plans, site visits, etc.). this is the standard as contained in the Curriculum and Course Specifications manual. This distribution of marks is heavily skewed towards cognitive rather than affective and psychomotor competences crucial to gaining entrepreneurial education. Similar scenario obtains for the HND programme, with its practical content allotted 15% more than the ND practical allotment. However, our interviews with a number of programme coordinators reveal that the actual marks allocation specified in the official Curriculum and Course Specifications manual was not actually followed. An even less action-oriented assessment model (see Table 5.9) that totally discounts practical was followed.
|Table 5.7: Allotted Marks in Entrepreneurship Courses (Actual)|
|Distribution||ND (%)||HND (%)|
|Course work (Examination)||60||60|
Examinations and tests measure cognitive abilities rather than practical know how with regards to setting up and running businesses. The assessment methods used are veritable reinforcement for learning by rote (a system where students lean by memorization and repetition) in contradistinction to active learning where students’ overall faculties are stimulated and set upon the road to lifelong learning. The dominant assessment methodologies followed in the polytechnics studied are therefore antithetical to the core reasons behind engrafting the entrepreneurship courses onto polytechnics programmes as a means to engender enterprise development and its attendant chain effects. The expectation that participation in the entrepreneurship courses to be the catalyst for future engagement in entrepreneurial activities is therefore forlorn.
5.8 Appropriateness of the Assessment Methods
When asked about the appropriateness of the assessment methods they used in grading students’ performances in entrepreneurship courses, the respondents were divided. Table 5.10 shows the distribution of our respondents with regards to their perception of the appropriateness of the assessment method they employ. Nearly have of the respondents agree to the inappropriateness of tests and examinations as the only evaluation method used in gauging students’ performances in entrepreneurship courses. This is in spite of the fact that tests and examinations are the methods they employ. When some of the respondents in this category were probed in interviews why they still use tests and examinations as assessment yardstick knowing that it is not appropriate, they reported following policy handed down to them by their respective Academic Boards.
The respondents who claim appropriateness of tests and examinations as assessment methods explain via interviews that most of them see entrepreneurship education as part and parcel of the social sciences, and that they merely use the most common assessment yardstick in the social sciences. Further, they also point to the official stand stipulating that students be assessed on the basis of 60% final examinations and 40% tests.
|Table 5.8: Appropriateness of Tests and Examinations as Assessment Methods in Entrepreneurship Education|
|Level of Appropriateness||Frequency||%|
We have observed that many teachers are willing to experiment and assess students’ performance in more entrepreneurial ways, but this often conflicts with the norms of the Polytechnics and what constitutes quality instruction. It should be noted that the primary purpose of assessment in entrepreneurship education is to inform teaching and improve learning, not to sort and select students or to justify a grade. This maxim, however, runs counter to the ongoing practices in the polytechnics studied, where assessment is conducted primarily to sort students into grades based on their individual performances in the written examinations administered on them. This situation notwithstanding, analysis of the assessment methods should proceed based on the fundamental characteristics of effective assessment explained below.
- It takes place over a period of time and is continuous. Learning is assessed regularly
- and the records of learners’ progress are updated throughout the year.
- Assessment supports the growth and development of learners. Learners become active participants in learning and assessment, understand the criteria that are used for assessment activities, are involved in self-evaluation, set individual targets for themselves, reflect on their learning and thereby experience improved self-esteem.
- Assessment provides feedback from learning to teaching. Feedback is a crucial element in formative assessment. Methods of feedback include appropriate questioning, focusing the teacher’s oral and written comments on what was intended to be achieved by an assessment activity, and encouragement to a learner.
- It allows for integrated assessment. This may include assessing a number of related learning outcomes within a single activity and combining a number of different assessment methods. Competence in particular learning outcomes can be demonstrated in many different ways. Thus, a variety of assessment methods and opportunities must be provided by means of which learners can demonstrate their ability.
- Assessment uses strategies that cater for a variety of learner needs (e.g. language, physical, psychological, emotional and cultural). Continuous assessment allows teachers to be sensitive to learners with special educational needs and to overcome barriers in learning through flexible approaches. In any group of learners, there are different rates and styles of learning. All learners do not need to be assessed at the same time and in the same away.
- It allows for summative assessment. The accumulation of the results of continuous assessment activities provides an overall picture of a learner’s progress at a given time. Summative assessment needs to be planned carefully from the beginning of the year so as to include a variety of assessment strategies, such as exercises, tasks, projects, and school and class tests, which will provide learners with a range of opportunities to show what they have learnt and how they have grown in their learning.
5.9 Factors Affecting Effective Teaching of Entrepreneurship
A number of factors have been identified constraining the effective teaching of entrepreneurship courses in the polytechnics studied. These include: large class size, inadequate funding, poor mindset of students toward entrepreneurship, lack of well-equipped entrepreneurial development centres, lack of training and instructional materials, inadequate power supply, inadequate number of qualified teachers with academic and industry experience, and inadequate provision for practical work. This list is by no means exhaustive; there are others, especially relating to the overall management of the polytechnics as well as the prevailing culture that determines the quality of relationships among staff and between staff and students. However, we restrict our analysis to problems that directly link with the teaching of the entrepreneurship courses. Table 5.11 details the staff perception on these problems. From Table 5.11, it could be seen that the problem that receive the most overwhelming agreement from teachers surveyed (97%) as hindering teaching of entrepreneurship courses is infrastructural: power supply. In a technical institution expected to acquaint students will skills in the operation of relevant machineries, the lack of power is indeed a big problem. Our follow interviews reveal that departments have to rely on small power generating sets to be able to conduct the most rudimentary teaching in the laboratories.
|Table 5.9: Factors Militating Effective Teaching of Entrepreneurship|
|Factors||Level of Agreement|
SD= Strongly Disagree; D=Disagree; NEU=Neutral; A=Agree; SA=Strongly agree.
1 = Large class size; 2 = Inadequate funding; 3 = Poor mindset of students toward entrepreneurship; 4 = Lack of well-equipped entrepreneurial development centres; 5 = Lack of training/instructional materials; 6 = Epileptic power supply; 7 = Inadequate qualified manpower; 8 = Inadequate provision for practical work.
However, the most disturbing problem is the lukewarm attitude of students to entrepreneurship education. Staff interviewed report that most of the students are only interested in getting marks and not the knowledge and skills they stand to acquire by taking entrepreneurship courses. In fact, had it not been compulsory for all students to take the course, some would have gladly refused the classes in entrepreneurship. This problem has to do more with the “certificate mentality” that bedevils the Nigerian economy where students suffer to undergo studies ostensibly to acquire certificates as tickets to gain employment (most in the public service). This poor student mindset now gets compounded by large class which is not ideal for teaching entrepreneurship courses as well as poor instructional infrastructure and consumable resources.
The results of this study have unearthed a number of dysfunctions with the overall programme structure of entrepreneurship education in Nigerian polytechnics. First, the perceptions of teachers taking entrepreneurship courses is at variance with the generally agreed focus of entrepreneurial education, which is to equip the educates with business, financial, and social skills and motivation necessary in the make-up of entrepreneurs. Thus, teachers deliver to students only theoretical knowledge about entrepreneurship in a get-to-know fashion rather than plan the course’s activities to deliver true entrepreneurial experience. This perception is further strengthened by housing entrepreneurship courses in schools/departments of business and thus supporting the mistaken notion common among both teachers and students that entrepreneurship courses are actually meant for business students only and have not much relevance to those who are training in the engineering and sciences programmes.
A more worrying finding is that most of the teachers almost exclusively rely on the lecture mode and tests/examinations in carrying out teaching and students’ assessments respectively. This approach fails to develop the affective and psychomotor competences crucial to the development of the entrepreneurial spirit in students. These problems have their genesis in the curricula and course specifications handed down by the NBTE to polytechnics to implement which place greater emphasis on the cognitive aspects of the entrepreneurship courses. This problem will have been mitigated somewhat where the teachers have industry experience to draw upon in teaching the subjects, but unfortunately, most of the teachers not only lack this crucial characteristic but also fail to avail the use of practicing entrepreneurs to complement the entrepreneurial experience provided to students.
Other major factors militating against the effective delivery of functional entrepreneurial experience to students include the non-use of entrepreneurship development centers in teaching and learning of entrepreneurship, lack of adequate funding, lackluster commitment to the entrepreneurship project by almost all stakeholders and the non-alignment of the entrepreneurship course offerings with the requirements and focus of individual programmes.
In view of the findings of this study as supported by theoretical explanations, we conclude that the conception, development, and implementation of entrepreneurship education in Nigerian polytechnics through the engrafting window are not in tandem with the dictates of good thinking and systemic planning, and therefore may not produce the intended impact of producing a corps of entrepreneurs upon whose activities some of the social and economic problems of Nigeria will find satisfaction.
This section suggests recommendations for practical implementation by the Nigerian polytechnics and the regulatory authorities in an effort to improve entrepreneurship education mechanism in the country.
7.1 Entrepreneurship Programmes
Entrepreneurship courses should be made as a compulsory subject and integrated in all programmes polytechnics offer in the country. Currently, not all programmes have the mandatory entrepreneurship development programme. The entrepreneurial courses should be tailor-made to fit with the nature and level of the various programmes available in the polytechnics. Further, the programmes should feature entrepreneurial knowledge and skills, such as business planning, entrepreneurial finance, creativity and innovation, marketing and field projects. The courses could involve innovative co-curricular programmes, outside the classrooms, focus on students live entrepreneurial programmes, as a comprehensive venture accelerator of student- run entrepreneurial organizations and forums, and entrepreneurial ecosystems as in the educational institutions in the emerging countries.
7.2 Entrepreneurship Curricula
Entrepreneurship curricula should consider the features to start up business ventures and include teaching of the fundamentals needed for those employment skills. The teaching of core structures should include: critical thinking, experiential learning methods, visits to industries and business areas, inviting guest speakers who are successful entrepreneurs. Though these skills are not sufficient enough to make successful entrepreneurs they are able to prepare the polytechnic students for involvement in entrepreneurship careers in future. The Nigerian polytechnics will benefit if they have collaboration with partnership programmes, or consulting relationships from world-class institutes, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, which have a leading brand in entrepreneurship education. Through these partnership programmes the polytechnics will gain the support for the development and management of the entrepreneurship programmes, the infrastructure of centres set up for entrepreneurship courses, and advice on the management and operations of the programmes. The groups of students will jointly develop state of art curricula, perform research on entrepreneurial development, and initiate collaborative projects with international partners.
7.3 Teaching and Learning Methods
Entrepreneurship is a process of identifying an opportunity, understanding and acquiring resource requirements, planning and implementing. The teaching of entrepreneurship courses should not be undertaken in mere classroom settings, but rather as a process which involves start-up businesses, entrepreneurial activities, design-based learning and reflective practices. Starting businesses as part of coursework by the students in the first year of their courses is a way of encouraging them for the entrepreneurial process, as the focus is on entrepreneurship recognition, resource planning, team development, holistic thinking and value creation. Incorporating real-world practice of business creation into the entrepreneurship courses will assist the students in developing a level of insight and confidence from practicing methods for navigating unknown territories, experience success and failure, gain knowledge and importance of leadership, managing human resources, decision-making and effective communication skills.
Hands on learning approaches including business plan competitions and experimental games in the entrepreneurial curricula make it more interesting. The purpose of this method of teaching is to compact business creation process, in order to map the creation of organizational culture through the way the student, as an entrepreneur, uses his or her time and money in relation to the business, employees and the community.
Entrepreneurship courses are better served by design-based learning and teaching. The design-based learning method equips skills in observation, synthesis, critical thinking, searching alternatives, feedback, problem-solving and value creation. Teaching entrepreneurship through a design-based approach can help the students to identify and act on unique venture opportunities, using a tool-kit of observations, fieldwork and understanding value creation across multiple stakeholder groups. Entrepreneurship is a continuous cycle of action learning, testing, experimenting and developing students as reflective entrepreneurs, and the focus should be on reflection-on practice (doing, learning, thinking as a process) and reflection-in-practice (doing, learning, thinking as a behaviour), as part of a pedagogy portfolio. It should not involve teaching entrepreneurship but teaching how to navigate entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship education is dependent on teachers, and, if teachers lack experience and confidence in their ability to teach actionable entrepreneurship, even the well-founded and good-intentioned programmes will quickly become irrelevant. It is critical to develop effective training programmes for teachers. Effectively teaching and learning entrepreneurship requires a less traditional approach. While many teachers are willing to experiment and teach in more entrepreneurial ways, this often conflicts with the norms of academic institutions and what constitutes quality instruction. A related challenge is how teacher training can be delivered in a way that is efficient and ongoing. There are opportunities for new ways of training and updating the skills and competencies of teachers so that they can teach in different settings, on different platforms, and to different audiences.
7.4 Attitude of Students towards Entrepreneurship
Students enrolled for entrepreneurship courses require a different learning approach from the other courses. Entrepreneurship students are considered as proactive, creative and innovative learners, and should possess exceptional personality traits and skills, directed to entrepreneurship. Considering this, the Nigerian polytechnics should design a curriculum that would suit to entrepreneurial learning purpose, and change their conventional teaching methods to more on hands-on learning approach and experiential learning. Entrepreneurship students should have access to unconventional teaching methods such as: internships, entrepreneurial simulations and activities, spin-offs, business plan competitions and focus on more technology-related business activities. They should be exposed to more on analytical, creative thinking, problem-solving, innovative, decision-making and effective communication skills, in their entrepreneurial programs and activities to motivate them towards entrepreneurship. A student-centered learning approach, instead of a teacher-centered learning approach is more suited to entrepreneurship students.
7.5 Establishment of Entrepreneurship Departments
Entrepreneurship education in the polytechnics studied is carried out in the form of 2 or 3 contact hour subjects in some of the programmes. There is no entrepreneurship programme run at the ND or HND levels. To provide the necessary focus, concentration and impact, the NBTE in collaboration with practicing entrepreneurs and academics and drawing upon best practices around the world, should design entrepreneurship programmes to be run at both ND and HND levels and housed in a Department of Entrepreneurship.
7.6 Establishing Links with External Bodies
The polytechnics should have strong links with industries, where they could send the students for internship programmes or gain practical experiences in entrepreneurship the present industrial attachment need be enhance and make very effective for the benefit of the students. With recent adopting entrepreneurship as compulsory for all polytechnic’s students, is crucial and logical for them to learn and apply the practical knowledge during their working time. These initiatives are vital and beneficial to the students in acquiring the entrepreneurial knowledge and skills for operating in the business ventures.
Many entrepreneurship programmes require a greater degree of resources than conventional classroom instruction. Regardless of core programme funding sources, there are many opportunities to secure supplemental resources in order to strengthen and expand programmatic elements. Private foundations, NGOs, other governmental entities, individual volunteers, Chambers of Commerce, etc. all offer potential. The evidence is mounting that entrepreneurship education funding does have a return on investment. Entrepreneurship education is a prime opportunity to test the development of public-private partnerships.
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