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ATTITUDES OF UNDERGRADUATES OF SOCIAL STUDIES UNIT TOWARDS ENTREPRENEURSHIP.

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Abstract

This study x-rayed the   attitudes of undergraduates of Social Studies Unit towards entrepreneurship education in Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki. Four research questions were posed to guide the study. Survey research design was used for the study. The population for this study consisted of 151 (one hundred and fifty-one) students of Social Studies Unit of the Department of Arts and Social Science Education, Ebonyi State University. There was no sampling since the population was sizeable enough to be surveyed. Based on the analysis of the data collected for the study, results showed amongst others that; Environmental factors, such as Favourable government policy, rules and regulations influence students’ attitude towards entrepreneurship education in Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki. Based on the findings, recommendations were made that: Lecturers teaching entrepreneurship education need to be more specific on the sources of finance available to students and how exactly they can access these funds.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

In every society, whether developed, developing or underdeveloped, education has been considered as a viable tool for the preservation of culture and a means for achieving personal and national emancipation. Every society has a goal that it pursues and the need of a society or nation at one point or the other determines the type of education it adopts. In this light, Okoli (2011) stated that every society whether civilized or primitive, evolves means of satisfying its needs and transmitting its culture to the younger ones. Okoli (2011) further stated that every society evolves its own education necessary at a particular point in time. The primary goal of any nation is the economic empowerment of its citizens. Education must then be tailored according to the need of the nation/society and not according to some international prescription.

Education is the process of facilitating learning. Knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits of a group of people are transferred to other people, through storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, or research. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educators. According to Hub (2012), education in the largest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense, education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another (Hub, 2012).

The term Education has been derived from two Latin words Educare (Educere) and Educatum. Educare means to train or mould. It again means to bring up or to lead out or to draw out, propulsion from inward to outward. The term Educatum denotes the act of teaching. It throws light on the principles and practice of teaching. The term Educare or Educere mainly indicates development of the latent faculties of the child. But child does not know these possibilities. It is the educator or the teacher who can know these and take appropriate methods to develop those powers.

Shane (2003) described entrepreneurship as the act of being an entrepreneur. According to Shane, the word ‘entrepreneur’ can be taken to mean an individual who undertakes innovations, finance and business acumen in an effort to transform innovations into economic goods and the result of one effort in entrepreneurship may be the creation of a new organisation or revitalising an existing organisation in response to a perceived opportunity. Also Isaacs, Visser, Friedrich and Brijal (2007) defined entrepreneurship education as the purposeful intervention by an instructor in the life of a learner, to impart entrepreneurial qualities and skills to enable the learner to survive in the business world. Alberti, Sciascia and Poli (2004) defined entrepreneurship education as the structured and formal transmission of entrepreneurial competencies, which in other words, refers to the skills, concepts and mental awareness used by individuals during the process of starting and developing developing their growth oriented ventures.

Entrepreneurship education at the tertiary level can play a significant role in changing views of students towards self-employment and acquire necessary skills to manage a business, thus preparing them for self-employment in the labour market (Saeid, Mohammad, Harm, and Martin, 2010). Entrepreneurship education tries to prepare people, particularly youth, to be responsible, take risks, manage the business and learn from the outcomes by immersing them in real life learning experiences.

Attitudes play a vital role in the life of a successful entrepreneur. As they build their new ventures, they are bound to overcome hurdles, solve problems, and complete the job. They are disciplined, tenacious, and persistent, they are able to commit and recommit quickly, and they are not intimidated by challenges (Timmons and Spinelli, 2009). Therefore, students may form and implement an Entrepreneurial action in anticipation of outcome. When the perceived outcome is poor or pessimistic, they tend to develop negative attitude. Reverse is the case when they perceived the outcome to be positive or optimistic, they tend to develop and retain positive attitude towards the attitude Entrepreneurship Education.

Students will have a positive attitude towards entrepreneurship education if they perceive that there are environmental possibilities (Kirby, 2006). This means that the entrepreneurial intention of a student can be affected by perceived environmental factors. Accordingly, if the perceived environment is favorable to development of entrepreneurship; entrepreneurial intention of students will be enhanced, and conversely, if the perceived environment is not favorable to the development of entrepreneurship, the student’s attitude towards entrepreneurship education will be reduced. According to Thurik and Uhlaner (2002), there are several environmental factors that can influence potential entrepreneurship. Among these factors are: the influence of government policy, social norm and Access to Finance on the entrepreneurial intention.

Demographic characteristics also influence students’ attitude towards entrepreneurship education. A student is most likely to be influenced by a particular group of individuals such as family members, friends, peers, and others close ones in one’s life. For example, people who grow up around a society or family that runs business or where family business is practiced are likely to learn and model entrepreneurial tendency, perceiving it to be feasible, more socially desirable and rewarding than formal employment in an established organization (Guyo,  2013). Thus, this will increase their interest on entrepreneurship education. Family background is important variable that has been considered to contribute to the attitude of students towards entrepreneurship education. Generally, individuals who have families with business tend to show higher attitude towards entrepreneurship education than those families that don’t have business undertakings (Guyo, 2013).

A student may have a positive attitude towards entrepreneurship education because of own competency and self-efficacy but may not make the transition into entrepreneurship because of a lack of intention (Krueger, 2000). Entrepreneurial self-efficacy refers to the strength of a student’s  belief that he or she will or will not be capable of successfully performing the roles and tasks of an entrepreneur (Chen etal.,2008). This influences their attitude towards entrepreneurship education. According to RauchandFrese (2007), entrepreneurial self-efficacy for starting a new business is a crucial factor in increasing the likelihood of business start-up activity. Every individual who has a high interest in entrepreneurship will be able to stand alone, dare to take decisions and implement the goals to be achieved in its sole discretion. It is said that the higher the self-efficacy, the higher the interest in entrepreneurship education (Bryant, 2006). According to Edelman and Manolova (2008), a variety of learning experiences can be used to expose students to real-world situations. By doing so, it is expected that the students’ self-efficacy can gradually increase, which is possible as students gain experience by developing complex skills (Iro-Idoro and Iro-Idoro,  2015). A person’s self-efficacy towards a task would influence the decisions to take on that task, the amount of effort used on the task and the persistence in accomplishing that task.

The environment a student finds himself/herself has influence on their attitude towards entrepreneurship education. According to Arenuis and Minnit (2005), new pursuit creation and entrepreneurial choice never happen in a vacuum, yet they are influenced by environment in which they were occurred (Chell and Baines, 2000). Students  will have positive attitude towards entrepreneurship education in the event that they see that there are natural potential outcomes (Kirby, 2006). This implies the entrepreneurial aim of a student can be influenced by perceived environmental factors. Likewise, if the apparent environment is great to improvement of business enterprise; entrepreneurial aim of students will be increased, and on the other hand, if the apparent environment is not ideal to the advancement of business, the student’s state of mind towards entrepreneurship education will be reduced. As indicated by Thurik and Uhlaner (2002), there are a few natural variables that can impact potential entrepreneurship. Among these variables are: the influence of government policy, social norm and Access to Finance on the entrepreneurial intention.

Statement of the Problem

The number of undergraduate students graduating from Public and Private Higher Education institutions in Nigeria is increasing from time to time, and the trend will continue as per the vision of higher education institutions of the country. This number is also swelling with the expansion of new universities and development of intake capacity of the older universities in the country. In due time, educated human resource supply would be in excess of demand of the public and private organizations. Undoubtedly, this would result in unemployment problem among students unless they seriously consider self employment as their career option. Therefore, entrepreneurship is the promising career option for students.

That is why the Nigerian government through the National Universities Commission made it compulsory on every undergraduate student to offer entrepreneurship education course as a step towards stimulating active and productive entrepreneurial activities in the country. It is believed, would help in developing students’ attitude and interest in entrepreneurship. This effort however is being seriously threatened as some students are still not having favourable attitude and keen interest towards entrepreneurship education. This leads to situation where students are not equipped with the desirable skills and competencies required for job creation and becoming entrepreneurs (Ekpoh and Edet, 2011). This study filled this gap in the literature by investigating attitudes of undergraduates of Social Studies Unit towards entrepreneurship education in Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki

Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of the study focused on attitudes of undergraduates of Social Studies Unit towards entrepreneurship education in Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki. Specifically, the study designed to:

  1. Find out how self-efficacy influences students’ attitude towards entrepreneurship education in Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki.
  2. Ascertain how school environment influences students’ attitude towards entrepreneurship education in Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki.
  3. Examine how demographic characteristics of students influence students attitude towards entrepreneurship education in Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki.
  4. Determine how the teaching of entrepreneurship curriculum influence students’ attitude towards entrepreneurship education in Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki.

Significance of the Study

This study would have the potential to contribute to at least the following aspects. First and foremost, this study will contribute a lot to the university in order to thoroughly understand its students towards self employment intension and take a remedy/action in creating entrepreneurial environment which stimulate students to become self employed/entrepreneurs since universities are expected to incubate entrepreneurs rather than institutions to produce those who are waiting jobs/employment opportunities from government, non government organizations. Consequently, the university has to play its role in the fulfillment of the country’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG).

Also, the university undergraduates will be benefited from the study by getting some insights regarding the importance of self-employment/entrepreneurship.

Parents will also benefit from the findings of this study, in the sense that they will be better informed on the importance of being entrepreneurial role model to their wards in order to encourage them to have positive attitude towards entrepreneurship education.

Scope of the Study

This study aims at assessing attitudes of potential university graduates to entrepreneurship education. in addition, the study seeks to explore how environment influences students’ attitude towards entrepreneurship education; how students’ self-efficacy influence their attitude towards entrepreneurship education; how demographic characteristics of students influence students attitude towards entrepreneurship education and influence of entrepreneurship curriculum at the university influence students’ attitude towards entrepreneurship education.

Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:

  1. How would self-efficacy influences students’ attitude towards entrepreneurship education in Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki?
  2. How would school environment influence students’ attitude towards entrepreneurship education in Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki?
  3. How would demographic characteristics of students influence students attitude towards entrepreneurship education in Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki?
  4. How would the teaching of entrepreneurship curriculum influence students’ attitude towards entrepreneurship education in Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki.

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