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Background of the Study


            It has become increasingly apparent that entrepreneurship play a significant role in the socio-economic development of a society. Economically, entrepreneurship invigorates markets and promotes job creation through the formation of new businesses. History has shown that economic progress has been advanced by pragmatic people who are entrepreneurial and innovative, able to exploit opportunities and willing to take risks. Hence transforming ideas into opportunities is the crux of entrepreneurship which undoubtedly raises productivity and enhances the transfer of technology. Socially, entrepreneurship empowers citizens, generates innovation and changes mindsets (United Nations, 2010). Fostering entrepreneurship means promoting the competitiveness of a business especially in an increasing globalized world economy. The Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) opined that entrepreneurship make entrepreneurs adaptable to changing situations by promoting self-reliance thereby alleviating the problem of unemployment. In addition, Nwachukwu (1990) stated that entrepreneurship harnesses the interests and innate potential of individuals, prevents wastes of human resources and serves as alternative in the absence of structured-employment.

Steinhoff and Burgess (1993) pointed out that it takes special skills and attitudes to succeed as an entrepreneur hence the need for competencies in entrepreneurship. Competency is needed to sharpen the ideas, thoughts and capabilities of entrepreneurs which facilitates good and effective management and improved services. Section 1 of the Nigerian  policy on education (FGN,2004) states that for functional education to be relevant, practical acquisition of appropriate skills and development of competencies are required for the individual to live and contribute to the development of his society. In effect, graduates need competencies to exercise their talents and be able to transform their education into entrepreneurship ventures.

Librarianship today has arrived at the information age where the role of information is increasingly emphasized as an economic resource, a marketable commodity and a social wealth. That is why an American economist, Stiglitz won the Nobel price for recognizing and including information as the fifth factor of production. In essence, the rapid growth in information and communications technology (ICT) has affected every facet of library operations and services such as acquisition of documents, management of serials, circulation systems, inter library loan and data processing thereby opening new entrepreneurial opportunities for LIS students.

In other words,the continuous high generation of information in all sectors of human activity through search and innovation has also brought about drastic changes in the present society. Moreover Parson (1990) maintains that ICT has dramatically altered the structure of markets in many industries and corporate organizations. Hence the race for competitive advantage is shifting from a natural resource and industrial production base to a knowledge and information base. These had led to expansion in the roles of information professionals in diverse ways with a shift from a document management perspective to an information management perspective which locates users, technology and information professionals within a socially constructed complex context.  As a result, there is also a corresponding expansion in the employment market for library and information professionals. For the success of library and information centers as effective communication system, the development of manpower to operate in the new trend of diverse information management settings has become vital. One of the aspects of manpower development in this regard is improved education system in which LIS students will be equipped with the competencies, attitudes and values that are necessary for improved library services and coping with increasing entrepreneurship opportunities created by ICT. According to Mangla (2002) Library and information science programmes should be designed to equip the students  with:

  1. Knowledge and techniques to handle the immediate job requirements in an efficient manner.
  2. To develop programs, procedures and services on modern trends with the use of various modern techniques, computers e t c to provide better, quicker and efficient services.

In a developing economy like Nigeria, the state of unemployment has given rise to increased rural urban migration for job opportunities. Most developing countries have similar economic conditions whereby government is heavily relied upon as the sole provider of the means of production and livelihood. Moreover, youth restiveness, coupled with high incidences of criminality along side high poverty levels have resulted to declining standard of living.

Given the above indices, government alone is no longer capable of being the sole provider of the means of production and Labour. However, economic self-reliance appears to be the only recourse in addressing these associated problems. Hence the increased interests in entrepreneurial careers and education in colleges and universities all over the world. The study of entrepreneurship has relevance today not only because it helps entrepreneurs better fulfill their personal need but because of economic contributions  of the new venture. The G 20 youth entrepreneurship summit held in London in 2009 addressed the challenges facing youth entrepreneurship. The summit was reported to be inspiring, stimulating and certainly increased the profile of global youth entrepreneurship agenda on the world stage effectively positioning youth entrepreneurship as a significant means for wealth and job creation for the benefit of communities and economies around the world (Prokop,2010). Global unemployment has hit a record high and is expected to rise further, according to a report of the international labour organization, which echoes warnings that young people continue to be the hardest hit by the recession. As a result, youth unemployment has become the biggest developmental challenge in many countries of the world in the 21st century.

The term ‘entrepreneurship’ has been viewed from different conceptual perspectives as evidenced by the many different definitions. However, in spite of the differences, there are common aspects: innovation/creativity, competency, risk taking, independence and rewards. Ademiluyi (2006) defines entrepreneurship as the process of using available capital in any form for business endeavors in an open and free market economy for the sole purpose of doing new things within a new philosophy of values and purpose of utility and quality and use which satisfies needs.  From the perspective of Ifegbo (2002), entrepreneurship is best understood as competency on resourceful skills capable of steering an individual to be self-reliant, independent and productive. In the context of this work, entrepreneurship may be considered as the process through which entrepreneurs create, nurture and grow enterprises using reasonable degree of initiative, and competencies necessary to transform change into opportunities thereby deriving personal satisfaction, monetary rewards and independence. Thus with adequate competences, and numerous entrepreneurship opportunities, Nigerian students can become entrepreneurs; a means through which they will exercise their talents and be able to convert their education into productive ventures so as to brace up to the rising unemployment challenges.

Entrepreneurship focuses on recognizing a business opportunity, starting a business based on the recognized opportunity and operating and maintaining that business. Appropriate skill acquisition and demonstrable competency in a particular field of endeavor reinforces a compelling desire for identifying business opportunities.  Entrepreneurship is the driver of economic growth and development in most emerging economies. Since its inception, it has grown greatly in popularity due to many opportunities it presents to creative and business minded individuals. A greater majority of jobs are created by small businesses started by entrepreneurs. Moreover people in entrepreneurship have more opportunity to exercise freedom, higher self esteem and overall sense of control over their own lives. It is believed that fostering a robust entrepreneurial culture will maximize individual, collective and social success on a local, national and global scale.  Based on this, the national standards for entrepreneurship education were developed to prepare youths and adults to succeed in an entrepreneurial economy.

Generally, huge success have been recorded through entrepreneurship all over the world. A result of the series of survey carried out by the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurship Leadership showed that greater number of youths made the choice of becoming entrepreneurs as opposed to the preferred career choices of yester years such as being a doctor, lawyer or Engineer (Litan, 2008). Entrepreneurship is presently the most effective method of bridging the gap between science and the market place, creating new enterprises and building new products and services to the market. This is essential in library and information science because new innovations in technology have given rise to new ideas relating to the collection, processing and dissemination of information to all categories of clients using information communications technology. Sigh and Pinki (2009) opined that new technologies must be utilized fully to meet the educational goals and objectives of the university in a strategic way rather than following them blindly.

Competencies for library and information science graduates are those tasks, skills, attitudes and values that are deemed critical to success in the field of librarianship like creativity and innovative, information management and ICT literacy, decision making, planning and marketing and technical skills which will enable them to operate fully in the new information era. Now there is fast migration of vehicles of information from the traditional paper models to digital paradigms creating the environment for more information generation vis- a-vis employment  in the information age.  Omekwu, (2009) posits that digital economy-defined as that realm of economy that creates employment, businesses and industries for professionals with digital competencies and qualifications not only enables LIS students to enter the job market and develop private enterprise but also creates wealth that is both personally sufficient and dynamically beneficial to others.  This is in accordance with a more generally held theory that entrepreneurs emerge from the population on demand, from the combination of opportunities and people well positioned to take advantage of them. The story is even more evident in the expansive paradigm in information and communications technology whose results includes huge data bases, interactive plat forms, web access, data sharing ability and self-managed information tools. This has expanded the roles of information professionals from collection and dissemination of paper based materials to building and disseminating information using ICT. So the need for acquiring new competencies in this era is not only appropriate but also auspicious if they are to play vital roles in the new information management enterprise.

Today’s librarianship is fascinating and diverse group of people are involved in a broad range of jobs in public, academic and institutional settings. Some engage in information brokerage, abstracting and indexing contracts in tertiary institutions or information re-packaging for local communities. In the book industry, they become book suppliers to tertiary institutions or establish and own a standard bookshop. Hence they become business men and women just like their counterparts in other professions. Many produce websites that bring around-the-clock library services to patrons with home or office computers. Others engage in information repackaging, indexing and abstracting services, publishing, owning a bookshop and information brokerage. Entrepreneurial education has never been so important in terms of courses and academic research. But Igbeka (2008) stated that Nigeria is gradually awakening to the importance of entrepreneurship education in the tertiary institutions. The curricular of many institutions are still traditional with no practical programs on entrepreneurship and technological innovations. Although librarians are traditionally associated with collection of books, modern librarians deal with information in many formats such as compact discs, video tapes, bibliographic databases and internet resources. Moreover, while there is a growing clientele for advanced technological services, it is far too difficult for most library school programs to provide training at both ends of the spectrum. The library schools training infrastructure has an extremely limited resource base which prohibits the creation of awareness on entrepreneurship for library and information science students (Igbeka,2008).

In Nigeria, the government, parastatals and NGOs are encouraging self-reliance through the provision of entrepreneurship awareness and competencies geared toward self-reliance for sustainable economic growth and development.  The bank in keeping with their commitment to support the objectives of the national and state economic empowerment and development strategy (NEEDS) programs have given significant attention to the promotion of entrepreneurship through, inculcating in people the right types of values, attributes and competencies for the survival of the individual and the Nigerian society. This cuts across regulatory agencies, private sector, industrial and professional bodies, trade associations and NGOs.

In view of the numerous challenges already mentioned, this study aims at assessing the entrepreneurship competencies among students that study library and information science (LIS students)  in University of Nigeria, Nsukka in Enugu state, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka in  Anambra state and Benue state University Makurdi in Benue state  with the aim of motivating and equipping students with the right attitude and competencies necessary for personal survival and advancement in the face of ICT opportunities and retarding economic situation. The Websters Encyclopedic unabridged Dictionary of the English Language (1994) described university is an institution of learning of the highest level having a college of liberal arts and a program of graduate studies together with several professional schools and faculties having the authority to confer degrees in various fields of study. Universities have a broad curriculum in courses of study related to the day-to-day educational, social and economic needs of the society. The objectives of the university among others things are:

  • To hold forth to all classes and communities whatsoever encouragement

for pursuing a regular and liberal course of education.

  • To promote research and the advancement of science and learning.
  • To organize, improve and extend education of a university standard.


University of Nigeria, Nsukka was founded in 1955 by the then  premier of the Eastern Region, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and formally opened on the 7th of October 1960. The University has four campuses with each at Nsukka, Enugu, Ituku-ozalla (in Enugu), and Aba, Abia state. The University was the first indigenous and first autonomous university in Nigeria modeled upon the American educational system. The University has 15 faculties, and 102 academic departments and offers 82 undergraduate programs and 211 post-graduate programs. An ultra- modern library the Nnamdi Azikiwe Library with a seating capacity of more than ten thousand was formally commissioned in 2009 at the university. It is said to be the largest library in Africa.

Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka was established by the Anambra state edict No. 5 of Nov. 26th 1991. With two campuses each at Awka (main campus) and Nnewi. The University was taken over by the federal government in July 15th 1992 and was named after the Owelle of Onitsha, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe because he was in the vanguard of the fight against colonialism in Africa believing in the use of education as a veritable tool in the liberation struggle and in the enthronement of the dignity of man. The University has 13 faculties and 50 academic departments with a student population of 24706 on full time and 12476 on part-time programs in the 2005 academic year.

Benue State University Makurdi was established on the 27th of Dec. 1997 by the sustained efforts of successive administrators since the creation of the state in 1976. The University was created to provide essential impetus to economic, social, cultural and vocational development of the state. The institution took off in that academic year with four faculties but had grown rapidly and steadily without compromising standards in the fulfillment of the vision of its founding fathers in providing education to its students. Currently the University has 6 faculties and a college of health and has won many laurels one of which is the best government council of state owned universities in 2006.

The department of Library and Information Science is one of the departments in the faculty of education in the three Universities under study. University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka run programs at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels while Benue State University Makurdi run LIS program only at undergraduate level. The department offers courses leading to the award of first degree, master and Ph.D in LIS for candidates who wish to pursue careers as librarians, information-specialists, library educators and researchers. The program train students to understand and acquire the principles and skills required for a systematic collection, organization and utilization of society’s information resources in libraries. The study also exposes the students to recognize the forces governing the flow of information resources and how to access these resources. The curriculum of library and information science in many universities including those under study do not contain courses in entrepreneurship at the undergraduate level while a few contain entrepreneurship courses only at masters level (Igbeka, 2008). Although these universities offer entrepreneurial training courses at undergraduate level as a general course, there is the need to introduce these courses at the departmental level so that the specific aspects of the course peculiar to each discipline could be addressed at the undergraduate level.


Statement of the Problem

Entrepreneurship play a vital role in creativity, innovation and job creation which eventually serves as a means of achieving self-reliance as well as the federal government’s policy of promoting private sector participation in economic development. Thus, entrepreneurship is a very important means through which graduates can exercise their talents and be able to convert their education into an intellectually productive venture through establishing small and medium scale enterprises.

Now, it seems that government alone cannot remain the sole provider of the means of production and labour, necessitating increased agitation for competency based education through which graduates can acquire skills necessary for entrepreneurship. Acquisition of competencies will sharpen the student’s ideas, thoughts and capabilities thereby increasing their operational efficiencies, motivation and preparedness to embrace entrepreneurship upon graduation and be able to combat the rising unemployment and economic challenges.

If librarians do not acquire these competencies, they cannot become entrepreneurs in their field. Moreover, other professionals from computer sciences and engineering will step into their core areas of work specialization and usurp their entrepreneurship opportunities. This is because skills have become both generic and multidisciplinary in this fast paced digital age. Cross disciplinary qualifications imply that some people without a basic background in librarianship may acquire basic information management skills either by further training or lessons from work experience and so can go into information management (Omekwu, 2009).

Failure to equip students with entrepreneurship education, competencies and motivation will undermine their ability to embrace entrepreneurship and achieve self reliance there by giving rise to a continuous increase in the spate of unemployment and its associated social ills in Nigeria.

Purpose of the Study

            The general purpose of this study is to investigate the competencies possessed by LIS students for entrepreneurship in three Nigerian Universities.

The specific purposes are to:

  • Examine the roles of entrepreneurship in economic development.
  • Know the entrepreneurship competencies possessed by LIS Students.
  • Examine the challenges associated with the acquisition of  competencies for entrepreneurship by LIS students.
  • Proffer strategies for enhancing the acquisition of entrepreneurship competencies  in LIS.

Research Questions

The following corresponding research questions will guide the study:

  • What are the roles of entrepreneurship in economic development ?
  • What are the LIS entrepreneurship competencies possessed by students ?
  • What are the challenges associated with the acquisition of competencies for entrepreneurship in LIS?
  • What are the strategies for enhancing the acquisitions entrepreneurship competencies and knowledge in LIS ?

Significance of the Study

It is hoped that the findings of this work will be beneficial to the teeming population of students in the library and information science profession, Library Schools and LIS educators, employers of labour, tertiary institutions, Parents and Retirees in the field.

Students will be awakened to the emerging issues in the field which have been created by ICT and which will motivate them to cultivate the spirit of entrepreneurship as a viable means of self-employment in the face of relatively high unemployment rate. It will provide insight into the strategies and means for enhancing the acquisition of greater professional skills and enable them to successfully start, expand and diversify a business enterprise. Thus, with the acquisition of appropriate professional competencies, students of library and information science can engage in the various aspects of information management and attach to relevant corporate organizations as information consultants and managers.. Achieving self-reliance will invariably bring about reduction in unemployment and youth restiveness in the country thereby contributing to National development.

The study will motivate heads of library schools in Nigeria as a matter of necessity to develop a framework for and restructure their curriculum to accommodate relevant aspects of entrepreneurship and technological innovation as a course to educate students adequately on current trends that benefit the profession. This will necessitate LIS educators to acquire additional training in entrepreneurship to be able to educate the students. With this, LIS profession will grow and diversify in  knowledge, literature and relevance which will attract greater finance and support from within and outside the university community.

Employers of labour will be interested and committed to employing graduates who have acquired sufficient knowledge of entrepreneurship and practical training experience.

Tertiary institutions will be motivated to integrate entrepreneurship education and practical training peculiar to every discipline in their curriculum for the benefit of their students.

Parents will be motivated to encourage and give necessary support to their children to venture into entrepreneurship on graduation and remain on track so as to discourage them from delving into any forms of social vices which may arise from long waiting to secure employment.

Many retirees in the field through this work will update their knowledge and continue to practice by becoming entrepreneurs in the information industry.  Finally, the work will add to the existing literature in library and information science and serve as reference for future research.

Scope of the Study

The study sets out to examine the competencies possessed by LIS students for entrepreneurship in three Universities in Nigeria.  These include the University of Nigeria Nsukka, in Enugu State, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka and Benue state University, Makurdi. These states were selected for study because of the comparatively high rates of unemployment among graduates in them (Fos,1997) vis-à-vis the large potential for small scale enterprises.  Assessment will be done on the various professional and ICT competencies possessed by the students which will promote entrepreneurship and self-reliance . The study will also examine the roles of entrepreneurship in economic development, the challenges associated with the acquisition of competencies for entrepreneurship and proffer strategies for enhancing the acquisition of entrepreneurship competencies and knowledge in LIS.



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