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Mixed reactions trail delivery of entrepreneurial studies

IN the bid to prepare students for life after school, aside waiting for white collar jobs or paid employment, the federal government made entrepreneurial studies in higher institutions compulsory.  According to the former Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, the promotion of entrepreneurship in the 129 universities will tackle insecurity challenges facing the country.
The Minister, who disclosed this while declaring open the annual National Entrepreneurship Week, ANEW, said: “The introduction of Entrepreneurship Education as a compulsory unit under the General Studies, GST, programme in Nigerian universities places emphasis on the nation’s yearning to assist youths gain economic independence.
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“It is my pleasure to inform you that Entrepreneurship Education is compulsory in all 129 universities in Nigeria. Some universities offer entrepreneurship education at the undergraduate and postgraduate level, today, the course has been adopted as one of the strategies of producing functional graduates.”
Following this declaration on November 2014, tertiary institutions without entrepreneurial studies as a course were forced to upgrade. The questions begging for answers are: Are tertiary institutions still equipping their students to be independent? Are the students gaining from the imposed course?
Speaking, a student of Samuel Adegboyega University Ogwa, Edo State, Eboigbe Anita, who stated that her school still teaches the course as a compulsory subject said; “Entrepreneurial studies, as we were told, was introduced to stand as a support pillar to help undergraduates stand out in the crowd when they are not employed after tertiary education.
It is believed by many that employment today is based on political influence and paper qualification rather than intellectual knowledge, so it is necessary we get this. Presently, while on campus, I am learning to do tie and dye and I got the motivation from my entrepreneurship class.”
On the other hand, Ifeoma Chidera from University of Benin, while  lamenting  the poor delivering of the course in her school, noted that she has not been benefitting from the lecture. She said: “We were given a big book to read and asked to draw a business plan and proposal which we presented and were graded.
We were not advised appropriately; we were not corrected as to where we might have gone wrong in our plan or where we needed to improve. The groups that cooked for the examiner as part of their presentation got high marks.
“Our lecturer was one of the oldest in the school, instead of using business plans or thriving businesses to illustrate he kept reading from the text. If anyone lamented or asked questions he would call the person an evil spirit. That’s my experience with entrepreneurship studies, there was nothing to learn. Whatever experience I have gathered is from my willingness to improve myself.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Vocational and Education Board, LASTVEB, Engr. Gasper Olawunmi opined that undergraduates should be allowed to participate in industrial training for at least six months, adding that it will give them the opportunity to be  employed after graduation.
He explained that the six month can be broken to three month each. According to him, the school holiday when students are usually allowed to go for industrial training programmes is too short for exposure to the industry. Within the six months, he maintained that the students would have gotten used to the culture of the industry as they will encounter practical aspects of most things taught or read in the classrooms.
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Olawunmi who noted that  every undergraduates must be exposed and know what is happening in the industry said: ‘’It will help employers have confidence in them when such students approach the company for employment after graduations.’’
Besides, he warned students that while undergoing training, their aim should not be after making money, but getting the required experience that will boost their academic performance. ‘’Instead of working for money, they should rather be grateful to the company where they are attached to for the knowledge acquired,’’ he said.
He, however urged the Federal Government to come up will a policy that will give industrial training undergraduates access to TETFund. Suggesting what can be done to improve delivery and student output based on his experience from taking the course while in Wellspring University, Benin, Iferi George said:
“There is need for entrepreneurship centres in universities to add to the curriculum,  incentives that would motivate students in showcasing their entrepreneurial skills. Mandatory assignments on how to develop their skills and presenting them should be given to allstudents.
“Universities should, however, not offer only exams that students will write and pass without imparting how their entrepreneurial skills can be developed. Akinpelu Emmanuel a student of Samuel Adegboyega University expressed his delight on how the course has helped him in becoming a photographer. “It should be known that universities are like  factories, they are expected to produce quality products or risk closure.
“Every university should continue to aptly deliver the course to build graduates not only in certificates but graduates that can stand out and showcase their entrepreneurial skills to the people out there.”
On  his perceived effect of  industrial attachment on students,  Dr. Daniel Ekhariafo, a lecturer in University of Benin said;   “Industrial attachment  gives them a better idea about the world of work; the politics in offices, challenges, opportunities and a chance  to take  individuals as their mentors and role models.
“As for the duration, i believe six months is fine however, some organisations need to allow their  industrial trainees touch equipments, to practice what they have been taught. There is a tendency among experienced individuals to disparage the gifts of the students hence they frustrate them from learning.”

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