1.1 Background of the Study
Nigeria like most developing nations of the world is faced with myriad of problems ranging from poverty, unemployment, ethno-religious conflicts, to diseases among others (Ngozi, 2012). These situations pose great challenges to the very existence of individuals in most developing nations thereby calling for the training of educated men and women who can function effectively in the society in which they live. Nigeria needs to reposition her graduates and young people in general into aggressive motivated and enterprising individuals in a way that will bring drastic reduction of unemployment and job creation (Festus 2000).
Despite the compulsory Entrepreneurship Education in Nigerian universities, many graduates still remain unemployed for a long time after graduation. The Entrepreneurship Education delivered to undergraduates in their 300-level seems not to be meeting the aims and the objectives for the compulsory course. In an attempt to redirect energies of Nigerian youths to productive activities upon graduation from universities, the Federal Government in 2007, through National University Commission introduced entrepreneurial education into the university academic curriculum. However, after eight years of implementing this laudable educational policy, youth unemployment and other negative vices are yet to abate.
One of the major concerns of most societies in the modern time is how to stem the ever rising tide of unemployment and achieve appreciable success in wealth creation and poverty reduction and foster socio-economic development. (Bello 1999). Stakeholders in education have constantly lamented the unfortunate trend in which tertiary institutions annually turn out graduates who roam our streets daily in search of non-existing jobs. They have placed this ugly phenomenon on the door step of a dysfunctional education system that has structurally failed to capture the dynamic nature of education as agent of transformation and a catalyst for individual and societal self-reliance. In a positive reaction to this development, federal government in 2007 revised the curricula of university education to include entrepreneurship education in order to equip the Nigerian graduates in an effort to reduce the growing unemployment and to create more jobs as well as wealth.
Taking an analytical approach, this paper shed more light on the role played by entrepreneurship education in stimulating entrepreneurial spirit and job creation among Nigerian graduates.
There is no consensus on the exact meaning of entrepreneurship as scholars and practitioners have tried to define it in various forms. Entrepreneurship is the term used broadly in connection with innovative and creative modern industrial business leaders (Emeruwa, 2005). It is often defined in respect to the functions of an entrepreneur as the man who perceives business opportunities and takes advantage of the scarce resources to use them profitably (Akinbode, 2009).
Suleiman (2010) believes that entrepreneurship education seeks to prepare people particularly the youths to be responsible, enterprising individual who became entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial thinkers by immersing them in real life learning experience whereby they can take risks, manage result and learn from the outcome. Entrepreneurship studies entails teaching people that they can either take or create a job. This will enable them to be self-employed and not relying on other job security. Often, it creates new job for others at the same time. Entrepreneurship studies training could be given to interested individuals both adults and students through workshops, classes, and conferences thereby learning the basic ideas of starting their own businesses and managing it well.
Okojie (2009) contended that the entrepreneur is believed to possess some traits which includes; boldness, confidence, personal leadership and force. An entrepreneur is also defined as a person who has an inclination to foresee uncertain events in pursuit of profit rather than bringing about a change in the economy.
The Nigerian government through the National Universities Commission has made it compulsory on every undergraduate student to offer Entrepreneurial course as a step towards stimulating active and productiveEntrepreneurial activities in the country. It is believed, would help in developing students’ attitude and interest in
Entrepreneurship. Also the Federal Government and National Universities Commission recently directed all Federal Universities to establish Entrepreneurship Study/Development Centres (ESCs) at each of the Universities. This centre is to be funded by Educational Trust Fund (ETF). This is to enable students to acquire practical aspect of Entrepreneurship. Osuala (2010) opined that entrepreneurship education is a programme or part of a programme that prepares individuals to undertake the formation and or operate small business enterprises which also includes franchise operations for the purpose of performing all business functions relating to a product or service with emphasis on social responsibilities, legal requirement and risks for the sake of profit involved in the conduct of private business enterprises.
1.2 Statement of the Problems
In Nigeria before the advent of colonial rule, unemployment was a rare phenomenon because the people were highly entrepreneurial and productively engaged. This entrepreneurial engagement is prevalent in Yoruba land of western Nigeria, Hausa land of the northern Nigeria, and among Igbo people of eastern Nigeria. This was achieved through encouragement of communal wealth creation and productive use of human resources, thus forestalling unemployment. However, the emergence of formal administration in Nigeria introduced formal education which enabled people to have the opportunity of being employed in the civil service after graduation. As such, the system destroyed self-reliance and entrepreneurial skills of Nigerians as they became permanently dependent on the colonial masters (Raimi and Adeleke, 2010). This has led to massive unemployment and craze in the contemporary times for ready-made jobs.
In the circumstances therefore, this paper evaluated the impacts of entrepreneurial studies on the entrepreneurial mindsets of first degree graduate of University of Abuja, Abuja.