Background of the Study
The major challenges facing the society today are issues of unemployment and underemployment, poverty, fall in the standard of education, corruption, economic depression, youth restiveness/militancy, high crime rate, ethno-religious conflicts, diseases, political legitimacy crisis, etc (Tope, Otaki and Babal 2014). Equally identified are the inherited colonial Education system which was patterned inline with the western culture and civilization. The explosion of higher Education with less emphasis on skilled manpower development, rapid expansion of the urban population and the shift of attention from agriculture as a result of the oil Boom (Ezeocha 1992).
So far, the world at large is gradually recognizing the relevance of science and technology. Effort is also made towards reshaping and re-designing policies aimed at enhancing the growth of Science and Technology through the encouragement of entrepreneurial Education management practices (Ukpong 2013).
There is no doubt that the world and Nigeria specifically is faced with myriads of problems and harsh realities which include poverty, unemployment, conflicts and diseases. 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. Available information by National Universities Commission (NUC 2004) reiterates the massive unemployment of Nigerian university graduates in the country. The problem is traced to the disequilibrium between labour market requirements and lack of essential employable skills by the graduates (Diejorah and Orimolade 1991; Dabalan, Oni and Adekola, 2000).
Consequently, in close allied to the aforementioned problems, and to make up for the curricular inadequacies in meeting unemployment problem, the National University Commission (NUC) and Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) and the National Youth Services Corps (NYSC) has been organizing workshops on entrepreneurship for Nigerian students. Which is one of the ways of tackling unemployment challenges facing the youths and young graduates in Nigeria in recent time.
To further strengthen and encourage entrepreneurship education in Nigeria, NERDC through the nine years Basic Education Curriculum (BEC) is helping pupils and students at both primary and secondary schools to develop entrepreneurial mindsets and skills that will eventually take them to university. A dream that can only be realized through youths encouragement from stakeholders.
Available research shows that the National Universities Commission (NUC) has in workshops produced a draft curriculum on entrepreneurship skills acquisition programmes, which hitherto many Nigerian Universities are yet to adopt and implement (Bassey and Archibong (2005) in Ekpoh and Edet (2011. The goal of entrepreneurship education is intended to empower graduates irrespective of their area of specialization with skills that enable them engage in income yielding venture, if they are unable to secure jobs in the public sector.
Moreso, the re-designing of the curriculum to include entrepreneurship education will bring about creative thinking among graduates. These will lead to the creation of wealth and self-reliance. Rather than engaging in menial and undignifying jobs. In support of the opining jobs above, Udensi (2001) stressed that this type of education (i.e entrepreneurship education) at the tertiary level will inculcate in the learners of any discipline, the abilities and managerial sills to engage in any productive venture other than public sector employment.
In response to these unemployment problem, and as a step to ameliorating it, the Government of Cross River State under LIYEL IMOKE has recently established the institute of Technology and management (ITM) Ugep. This polytechnic will compliment the efforts of the cross River State University of Technology towards manpower development, youths empowerment through skills acquisition and the transformation of socio-economic activities aimed at sustainable development in the state (Nigerian Chronicle Nov. 13, 2013).
The institute of Technology and management Ugep has been established by the cross River State Government of Nigeria in partnership with Highbury College Potsmouth, United Kingdom. It is seen as a pathway of a unique, transformational statewide Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Ecosystem Project. The Cross River State Government has appointed Highbury to Manage (ITM) to world class standard.
The vision is to develop a world class entrepreneurial polytechnic institute, the first of its kind in Nigeria. The institute will have students success as its central mission. It will also focus on wealth creation, business formation/growth and employment outcomes, to meet the needs of students, the local communities of cross Rive State, Nigeria and beyond. It is also aimed at appraising what has been done so far. Access the qualities of teachers trained to teach the students. The infrastructural provisions such as; Laboratory equipments, library, designed capacity building programmes for teachers, take-off grants for graduates of the institute, to enable them engage in entrepreneurship ventures and so on.
On appraisal, the study will look at what has not been done, and make some suggestions and recommendations.
The need for Educational curriculum planners to take concrete steps aimed at giving the Nigerian child the basic education which is inline with the environmental needs of the society cannot be over emphasized. As rightly pointed out by Ukeje (1966) formal Education in the Nigeria system is not only distorted at critical points, but its basic orientation is kept out of line with the practical employment needs of its product, or with the development needs of the society. Consequently, while white-collar workers are always in over-supply in Nigeria, professionals and technical personnel are in-short supply. As a quick response to these problems of curricular inadequacies in tackling unemployment problem, the National Universities Commission (NUC) the Nigerian Educational Research and Development council (NERDC) and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), has collaborated efforts in designing Entrepreneurial programmes for the graduates of tertiary institutions to enable them to become self-reliance. Marline (2007) and Nwachukwu (2005).
On the premise above, it becomes imperative for vocational and Technical Education to be emphasized for the realization of the dreams for sustainable development in cross River State. certainly, there is the need for a turn-around from the bequeted colonial type of Education to vocational and Technical emphasized system of Education. Necessity they say is “the mother of invention and change”. Events all over the world has proved beyond doubt that man is not a helpless victim of his own environment for everywhere on earth, there are possibilities for development, though to the limits of the environment (nature), “Environmental possibilism and Determinism”.
Developing countries such as Nigeria should place much emphasis on technological learning. Roserberg (1976) argued that there should be a proper appreciation of the contribution of technological changes made in the process of diffusion, initiation and adaptation. He added that developing countries must have capacity for generating technology. The truth is that, economies with relatively poor scientific infrastructure and lacks practical investment in research activities, in addition to under-developed entrepreneurial capacities, and with little modern manufacturing industries will also remain poor. Certainly, it will be hard for such a country to compete internationally with other established industrialized countries.
It is factual that many of the development problems of third-world countries, including Nigeria are directly linked to the educational systems that has emphasized theoretical education at the expense of vocational (Entrepreneurial) skills acquisition.
The research has also adopted the Behavioural and environmentalist (survival) approaches in the theoretical framework for proper understanding.
1.2 Statement of Problem
It is common to see that millions of graduates are turned-out yearly from Nigeria tertiary institutions without any hope of getting employment for their survival. The unemployment graduates are left with frustration. With no means of livelihood, some take to armed-robbery, prostitution, kidnapping, thurggery, drug addition and so on, all as a result of joblessness.
Although the National Universities Commission (NUC) has, in collaboration with other stakeholders in Education redesigned curriculum that will facilitate entrepreneurial skill education at the tertiary level. Which is aimed at enhancing economic and social life of graduates, not much has been done by most of these tertiary institutions as regards to the implementation of these new policy. Which is still a challenge to the smooth take-off of the entrepreneurial skill Education in Nigeria, Ukpong (2013).
The argument then is, if the issue of graduates unemployment is rampant, and has led to social vices, and the National Universities commission (NUC) has introduce steps through the re-designed curriculum to enhance job creation, wealth creation and in turn produce able bodied men and women who are self-reliant. The question then is, what is delaying the introduction of Entrepreneurial Skill Education in some tertiary institutions in Nigeria? These empirical research will also provide answers to these questions, and as well proper solutions to them.
The study is aimed at evaluating the steps so far taken by the Government of Cross River State towards enhancing Entrepreneurial skill Education, the management of vocational Education, and Youth Empowerment for sustainable development in the state.
1.3 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is set to evaluate entrepreneurial Education and Technical Education Management in Cross River State. It is true that Entrepreneurship will enhance social, economic and political development in the State. The study is to be carried out in Cross River State which is made up of four Educational Zones, i.e calabar, Upep, Ikom and Ogaja Educational Zones. Cross River State is one of the thirty six (36) States that makes up the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is one the States in the South-South of the geographical zones of Nigeria. The study will cover the principals, Teachers and students, in Technical Colleges in the State. It will also cover the institute of Technology and Management (ITM) Ugep. Equally, information from the state and Federal ministry of Education, the science Technical Education Board will be used in the study.
It will also access the progress so far made by the State Government towards the institutionalization of entrepreneurial centres for job creation for the youths of the state, in lined with the National policy on Education and the NUC Entrepreneurial skill Education policy.
1.4 The Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to evaluate the actions so far taken by the cross River State Government towards encouraging Entrepreneurial skill Education, and its management strategies towards sustainable development. With focus on job creation for the youths/graduates. Specifically the objectives of the study are as follows:
1. To find out what the government has done, as regards to the provision of infrastructures for effective teaching and learning of Entrepreneurial skills.
2. Provision of instructional materials to the existing Technical colleges in the State.
3. To Find out the State of the Introductory Technology labouratories, libraries, the school plants, etc.
4. To critically access the newly established institute of Technology and Management (ITM), if it is of the standard of a polytechnic.
5. To ascertain the quality of teachers who are teaching the various science, vocational and Technical subjects.
6. To also find out whether there is adequate arrangement for capacity building for the teaching and non-teaching staff of the existing Technical colleges and Entrepreneurial skill acquisition centres.
7. To find out whether or not the staff are motivated and paid enhanced salaries .
8. Equally, to find out the challenges faced by the Entrepreneurial skill centres, which if address would lead to improve performance of both the schools and their graduates, all in the best interest of the State. Behold it would help to solve the alarming unemployment problems and other social vices.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study will certainly lead us into the full appreciation of entrepreneurial skill Education in this modern era. Since it will benefit the students, the teachers, the Government and the society at large.
On the part of the students; the benefits are as follows;
1. Job creation: The graduates with such Entrepreneurial skills would be gainfully self-employed and also create jobs, rather than being job seekers.
2. It will enable the students to have confidence in themselves about their future, objectives, values, thereby having priorities to pursue in life.
3. It will enable the students to have spiritual satisfaction and sense of belonging.
4. It enables the students at graduation to begin to have the feelings of self actualization.
5. It inculcate in the students values, and would also raise morally upright individuals capable of independent thinking. And individuals who would also appreciate the dignity of labour.
6. Entrepreneurial Education provides the student with develop manipulative, communicative and life-long skills. This will enable them to function effectively in society and thereby realizing their full potentials, becoming more independent and self-employed in life. Ukegbu et al (2012).
7. Through the teaching methods students will have more progressive challenging educational activities. Also they will acquire experiences that will enable them to get the insight needed to discover and create entrepreneurial activities, and the expertise to successfully start and manage their own businesses.
8. It would also help the students at graduation to identify investment opportunities and also help them to harness untapped natural resources in Nigeria. In order to produce the goods and services needed in the country.
The benefits of Entrepreneurial Education on the part of the teacher is as follows;
1. It helps the teacher through the progressive framework of teaching to develop appropriate objective learning activities, and assessment for their target audience.
2. With the length of training acquired by the teachers, it would enable the teacher to demonstrate expertise and professionalism at each given time. It would also give rise to enhance salaries/ wages. Thereby improving on their standard of living in the society.
3. Teachers in these special fields enjoy in-service training and foreign courses. These is aimed at improving on their performance in the handling of the instructional materials/school plants.
There is no doubt that innovative educational methods would enable both the teacher and students to develop entrepreneurial spirit and talents, that are necessary to function effectively in an environment of strong market forces and divergent people. Avanites, Glasgo and Stumptf (2009), in Tope, Otaki and Babal (2014).
The benefits of Entrepreneurial Education to the Government, will come in several ways;
1. Reduce unemployment problem. Building entrepreneurship culture into Nigerian Educational system, and instilling entrepreneurship spirit in the Nigerian graduate would help to lay a strong foundation for reducing unemployment and its associated social problems. These would go further to ensure the presence of a private-sector driven economy. Increased productivity, and would also enlarge the market base of the economy. As rightly pointed by Tope et al (2014), that Entrepreneurship Education will produce graduates who will provide jobs, create wealth, enlarge and fast-track the economic to attain the status of one of the twenty most developed economies of the world by the year 2020.
2. Increase per capita income: Entrepreneurial Education will help create self employment for graduates and also provide jobs for other levels of manpower. Which in turn will help the individual to increase per capita income and improve the citizens standard of living.
3. It leads to political stability: A stable country where the youths are engage in meaningful small scale business activities equally enjoy political stability. With a peaceful atmosphere foreign investors will be attracted, which in-turn will enhance the economic growth of the country.
The economies of Asian countries that are now competing favourably with America, Germany, United Kingdom, etc, attained their present levels of development through the entrepreneurial activities of individuals and groups with their governments providing the appropriate framework and policies for the thriving of entrepreneurial ventures. Tope et al (2014). There is no doubt that entrepreneurship education would turn around the economic fortune of Nigerians. That is, by providing job and reducing the unemployment rate in Nigeria. Thereby reduce the poverty level among the people of Cross River State, which for many years has been described as a civil service state. Meaning, entrepreneurial education will boost economic activities, which will lead to socio-economic transformation and sustainable development.
1.6 Research Questions
The following research questions were asked to guide this study;
1. What are the steps taken by the cross River State Government towards the effective management of vocational Technical Education centres in the State?
2. What is the level of Government commitment towards encouraging science and Technical teachers capacity building programmes?
3. What are the incentives provided for professional teachers of entrepreneurial education?
4. Is there a special salary structure for vocational and technical teachers?
5. What is the level of private sector and corporate organization involvement in encouraging entrepreneurial studies by institutions in the State?
6. How many Technical Colleges and Vocational Centres with Introductory Technology Laboratories, Libraries and functional school plants?
7. What plans does the government has for the graduates of these vocational centres, i.e respect of take-off grants?
8. What can be done to tackle the challenges faced by the Government in the establishment and Management of Entrepreneurial skill acquisition Centres and Technical Education?
17 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses will be tested at 2.5 level of significance.
HQ1: There is no significant difference in the evaluation analysis of the teachers on the efficient and effective management of Entrepreneurial skill Education Centres in Cross River State..