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INFLUENCE OF BUSINESS EDUCATION CURRICULUM ON ENTREPRENEURIAL SKILLS OF COLLEGES OF EDUCATION GRADUATES IN NORTH-CENTRAL ZONE, NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the study
Entrepreneurship education is a course of study introduced to equip the recipients with the skills of how to utilize whatever utility skills that they acquired to take advantage of opportunities in an environment in order to become self-reliant. Business education programme of colleges of education provides a study in entrepreneurship skill acquisition to prepare students of the programme for business entrepreneurship. According to Andrea (2010) entrepreneurial skills should consist of five basic skills which include: human resource management skills, financial management skills, innovative skills, customer skills and marketing management skills.
Business education is a programme of study that prepares individuals with multiple skills to teach, or work in industry and to equally set up a business as an entrepreneur and employ others. Ibrahim (2011), has stated that business education is divided into two parts: Office education which is vocational in nature for office careers and general business education which is a programme that provides information and competencies needed for managing businesses. Aliyu (2004) in Ibrahim (2010) defines business education curriculum as planned sequence of formal courses and other activities and learning experiences which a student follows in an attempt to achieve particular educational objectives. It was expected that business education programme provides human resource, financial, innovative, customer and marketing skills.
Entrepreneurship education aims at raising awareness of students about business skills, knowledge, promoting creativity, innovation and self-employment. This includes
the acquisition of skills in areas that would be useful and make them self-reliant, and independent productive citizens of the society. Entrepreneurship is critical to the economic development of any nation. An entrepreneur is one who engages in business undertaking with an active and enterprising spirit. An entrepreneur is any person who coordinates the factors of production and bears the risk of uncertainty by investing scarce resources in business ventures. It is necessary for such an individual to acquire skills such as human resource management skills, marketing skills, customer service skills, financial management skills, creative/ innovative skills and risk management skills.
The focus of the study was to systematically investigate and document the influence of business education curriculum on entrepreneurial skills of colleges of education graduates in the North-central Geo-political Zone of Nigeria. The assumption was that there was a positive influence, but where there are challenges and gaps, the study should provide a framework to address these gaps, and make the graduates of business education in the North-central Zone more self- reliant and better job creators, thereby contributing to national development. North-central Geo-political Zone is one of the six Geo-political zones in Nigeria consisting of six states, namely Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nassarawa, Niger and Plateau. The zone has three federal and nine state owned colleges of education offering business education.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Business education is a programme of study that prepares individuals with multiple skills for teaching and entrepreneurship activities. Ali (2010) states that dearth of employment related skills; entrepreneurial skills and ignorance of the work environment among youths have caused economic and personal hardship within the past
few years. With so many graduates in the labour market, employers look for evidence of skills which would make an individual stand out from the crowd. In the last decade there had been growing economic downturn in the country leading to a situation of drop in the capacity of government and corporate organizations to provide employment to graduates of institutions of higher learning. This has been the case with graduates of business education from colleges of education. The situation has led to a paradigm shift from relying on government jobs to the acquisition of entrepreneurial skills for self-reliance. Functional educational programmes, such as effective business education, that is supposed to instill entrepreneurship and job skills for self-sustenance amongst the colleges of education graduates, may have not done much.