(Iheanyi Ezinwo) – An Associate Professor of Management at the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt, Jude Nwoka, has observed that universities in Nigeria have academic curriculum that supports Entrepreneurship education but that relevant tools and support need to be provided to make it possible for Entrepreneurshipof to be taught both in theory and in practice.
Speaking with Notable Outcome in his office at the institution on Friday, the Ubima-born High Chief defined email as the creation and development of the mindset to making people resourceful in terms of employment generation. He added that successful entrepreneurs are known for risk tolerance, creativity and innovation, and that success in entrepreneurship requires total commitment and possession of distinctive competences to create value in the form of goods and services that satisfy human wants.
His words: “Entrepreneurship involves development of midset and process that equips an individual to plan for his own business.
“In the past and even on recent times, students engage in some economic activities on campus in order to raise money to support themselves, but that is not enough to achieve sustainable entrepreneurship development.
“What we see is that entrepreneurship is taught as an educational programme but the practical component is missing.
Entrepreneurship should be practical. It also requires tools to support learning but are they available in our universities?
“Few universities are trying to complement the theories with practicals but the management of some universities sabotage the programme by either allowing the facilities to rot or misappropriating them.
“At the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, the Vice Chancellor had come out with an idea that will allow students to learn a skill side by side the normal programme, so that, on graduation, they will go home with two certificates but the idea was not acceptable to some stakeholders because the training would require additional financial commitment from the students.
Associate Prof. Jude Nwoka, who argued that the teaching of entrepreneurship as a course is a different thing from practicing it, asked a barrage of questions:
” If you are teaching entrepreneurship, are you doing it? Do the lecturers have the experience? Are they teaching entrepreneurship? Are they practicing it?
“Are the tools available to complement learning of theories with learning of practical skills to create value?”, the celebrated lecturer asked in quick succession, even as he maintained that government has not supported entrepreneurship.
According to him, there are no loans and other financial support: and the required tools and infrastructure are lacking, just as he called for more financial provisions in support of entrepreneurship education.
The university don further stated that sincere commitment from government and leaders in the universities will translate into more tools being available to encourage more graduate participation in entrepreneurship and help address the increasing challenge of unemployment in Nigeria.
“Curriculum is not the issue but attitude of university leaders towards the programme. In some universities, there is no accountability and tools provided for entrepreneurship development have been diverted to private use.
” Universities have curriculum that will support entrepreneurship but some university leadership do not have entrepreneurial mind set.
“An entrepreneurial leadership will even go beyond the curriculum to provide enabling environment for students to acquire skills.
” Sincere commitment towards entrepreneurship development would also enable the universities to generate revenue and be self sustaining”, the management scholar explained, while observing that some difficult situations, where lecturers who studied unrelated courses like music, geography etc. are appointed to head Entrepreneurship Development Centres in the universities have been counter productive.
He insisted that politically motivated appointments in the system, without regards to capacity undermine the good intentions of the programme.
According to Dr. Nwoka, a lecturer with relevant business training and experience is in a better position to know what to do, and how to go about entrepreneurship development.
He contended that success in the entrepreneurship programme in Nigerian universities is dependent on the commitment of the students to developing themselves, and the manifest entrepreneurial spirit among the drivers of the vision.
“Entrepreneurship education should not follow the pattern of normal teaching, it should be practical”, the associate professor of Management summed.