The teaching and learning of Entrepreneurship Education in tertiary institutions is of paramount interest to all stakeholders. The National Policy on Education describes Education as an instrument ‘par excellence' for effecting national development (FRN, 2004). It is conceived that education is capable of bringing about the desired socio-economic and political changes in the country. The recent call for the inclusion of Entrepreneurship Education in tertiary educational institutions in Nigeria is an indication of its importance to employment creation; as Nigeria continues to churn out graduates from our various institutions that are hardly self reliant but solely dependent on white collar jobs for sustenance because they lack adequate skills that will make them function effectively and efficiently towards the development of the economy.
The growth and development of the economy depends largely on the kind of skills that the graduates of our educational institutions are equipped with. According to Ihebereme (2010), skill acquisition is the process of acquiring or gaining effective and ready knowledge in developing ones aptitude and ability in a particular field. Skill acquisition is one among the policies embarked upon in Nigeria with the sole aim to alleviate poverty, youth restiveness, sophisticated crime and corruption rate; rural – urban drift, unemployment and other social vices (Ihebereme, 2010). Skill acquisition in Nigeria tertiary education level is meant to equip our students with more practical and less theoretical knowledge on income generating skills. Mbionwu (2008) noted that when youths are given adequate training in skills, they can be self-employed after schooling; hence they become active partners in both community and national development. The possession of skill is important in preventing youths from becoming social misfit. Ihebereme (2008) opined that skill acquisition (Entrepreneurship) education in Nigerian educational system acts as a rehabilitator, re-orientator, motivator and empowered to the under-privileged (students of poor parents). These skills are described as entrepreneurial skills (Akudolu, 2010).
Okolocha and Okolocha (2012) described entrepreneurship skills as business skills which one acquires to function effectively in the turbulent business environment as an independent or self-employed person in order to improve one's economic status and the society at large. The result of the study carried out by Okebukola (2006) confirmed that most Nigerian graduates are deficient in self-reliance and entrepreneurial skills. In a similar vein, Anyakoha (1997) as cited by Olumese and Clark (2011) stressed that training for entrepreneurship skill development is not currently well articulated by Nigerian universities. The importance of entrepreneurial skill cannot be over-emphasized since appropriate skill acquisition through entrepreneurship will help to make young school leavers' to be self-reliant and boost their economic states. Isike (2008) stated that entrepreneurship has been identified globally and nationally as a tool for generating a sustainable economy which is the core value of the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategies (NEEDS). Uloko and Ejinkonye (2010) remarked that when youths are empowered through the acquisition of entrepreneurial skills, there is the possibility that they will use the skills to create new avenues for wealth. Empowering the youths to set up businesses involves proper acquisition of skills through education and training. In a study carried out by Egwanyenga and Ranor (2012), the authors concluded that the entrepreneurial skills are: managerial skills, accounting and financial competency skills, marketing and sales, general business and human relations skills. The entrepreneurial skills possessed by graduates are perceived in different ways by stakeholders.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Entrepreneurship education which is a sort of intervention programme which was introduced into Nigeria's tertiary education sub-sector in 2006 to remedy the unemployment challenge; and redirect the attention of our youths/graduates towards job creation by instilling in them relevant entrepreneurial skills that will positively grow and develop the economy. The goals and objectives of the programme seem laudable and for these goals and objectives to be achieved, some machinery has to be put in place. The relevance of this programme in the curriculum of all tertiary institutions in Nigeria is geared at creating an entrepreneurial culture and entrepreneurial spirits in the students. Since the introduction of this programme, there seems to be increase in graduates' unemployment. For instance, the unemployment rate as at 2006 was 5.3 percent but as at 2011, it has risen up to 23.9 percent. Many graduates seem to be roaming the streets in search for white collar jobs.
The rate of poverty, corruption and so many other social vices has become worrisome to the government and to every well meaning citizen despite the introduction of entrepreneurship education. This state of affair is of great concern to the researchers and if this trend continues, it will leave no one in doubt to question the relevance of entrepreneurship education in the school curriculum. The main purpose of this research work was to find out the perceptions of Business Education students on the relevance of Entrepreneurship Education.
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