Reinforcing University Entrepreneurship Education Programme for Poverty Alleviation in Nigeria
The dearth of paid employment has forced governments in Africa to prioritize the promotion of entrepreneurship engagement by citizens. One strategy employed by the Nigerian federal government was to make entrepreneurship education compulsory for all tertiary institution students. The policy has been in place for well over a decade; however the extent of its effectiveness is very much in question, with researches turning in mixed results and many unemployed graduates unwilling or unable to effectively engage in entrepreneurship. The purpose of this study was to examine students’ perception on prospects, challenges and strategies for reinforcing university entrepreneurship education programme for poverty alleviation in Nigeria. The study was carried out in Kwara State University, Malete and Tai Solarin University of Education Ijagun, both in southwestern Nigeria. To achieve the study purpose, descriptive survey research design was adopted. Three research questions guided the study. The population consisted of all full-time undergraduate students of business educati on in the two universities. A census of all 202 students was conducted. A four-point rating scale questionnaire was used to collect data from the subjects. The instrument was validated by experts in the two universities. The reliability test, conducted with test-retest method, yielded a reliability quotient of 0.77 which was considered adequate. Frequency counts and percentage were used to analyze the demographic data while mean and standard deviation were employed to answer the research questions. Research findings showed that many respondents agreed that Entrepreneurship Education has great potentials as an instrument of poverty alleviation and sustainable development. The challenges inhibiting the optimization the benefits of entrepreneurship education in Nigeria included poor funding, and inadequate government support for budding entrepreneurs, among other factors. The findings also showed that entrepreneurship can be strengthened for poverty alleviation through effective programme planning, supervision and evaluation. The researcher recommended that government and other relevant agencies should provide incentives and support to university graduates in their entrepreneurship endeavours.
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