By Peter Osalor
Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, while the French classical author, Francois de la Rochefoucauld said ‘ the only thing constant in life is change’.
This paper stresses the importance of entrepreneurship education towards enhancing sustainable development in Nigeria. The problems facing the country ranging from high rate of poverty, youth and graduate unemployment; overdependence on foreign goods and technology; Low economic growth and development; among others. This paper therefore argues that entrepreneurship education will equip the students with the skills with which to be self-reliant. The objectives and strategies for re-designing entrepreneurship education are also discussed. The paper also recommended that educational programmes at all levels of education should be made relevant to provide the youth the needed entrepreneurial skills. It is also recommended that the government should give adequate attention to entrepreneurial development in the country through the provision of good economic environment.
So it is on this premise I would like us to see the Nigerian educational system in light of current realities in the 21st century. A careful look of the current state of affairs in Nigeria reveals that we are in a 21st century economy with a 19th century education system. A system whereby much emphasis is still placed on the conventional classroom environment with much reverence for certificate for graduates who in most cases are trained to be job seekers as evidenced in present high unemployment rate in the land. However, we must accept the fact that times have changed and we must adjust by transiting from the old styled era of Adam Smith inspired concept of the ‘industrialized specialist’ which has outlived its usefulness to a more dynamic, resourceful and I.C.T based model where skills and creativity takes precedence. Without deviating from the topic of my speech which is Entrepreneurial Education Revolution in Nigeria, I would like to briefly define some of the concept in the topic.
WHO IS AN ENREPRENEUR?
An entrepreneur is a person who is driven to establish a business to take advantage of the financial opportunities and personal fulfilment offered, by pursuing their own dreams and shaping their own destiny in local, national and global economies. I personally define an entrepreneur as anyone who can convert what he loves doing to a moneymaking venture.
Entrepreneurship on the other hand is said to be the process of planning, operating and assuming the risk of a business. It has also been seen as a process of creating a unique value. For the purpose of this speech, I would be limiting education to the activity of teaching about a particular subject.
Revolution on the other hand has been defined by The Macmillan English dictionary as a sudden or major change, especially in ideas or methods. A revolution signifies a drastic turn around, a new way of thinking and acting.
So at this juncture, what then is Entrepreneurial Education? Entrepreneurial education is a lifelong learning process, starting as early as elementary school and progressing through all levels of education, including adult education. Entrepreneurial education focuses on developing understanding and capacity for pursuit, of entrepreneurial behaviours, skills and attributes in widely different contexts. It can be portrayed as open to all and not exclusively the domain of the high-flying growth-seeking business person. The propensity to behave entrepreneurially is not exclusive to certain individuals. Different individuals will have a different mix of capabilities for demonstrating and acquiring entrepreneurial behaviours, skills and attributes.
These behaviours can be practiced, developed and learned; hence it is important to expose all students to entrepreneurial education. Therefore, from the above definitions, we can safely deduce that entrepreneurial education revolution is a change in educational system which embraces an all encompassing strategy in introducing and instilling entrepreneurial attitudes into students. Just as we had the G.S.M revolution in Nigeria, an entrepreneurial education revolution is aimed at making entrepreneurial studies readily available anywhere with relative ease.
Our educational institutions keep churning out graduates’ year in- year out and close observers have questioned the kind of training and education these young people are receiving in this 21st century. Recent statistics from the Nigerian bureau of statistics shows that the unemployment rate in Nigeria is 23.9%.