The Vice-Chancellor of Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU), Olasebikan Fakolujo, has identified entrepreneurship as the tool for social and economic development that can provide opportunities for people to create wealth and improve their economic circumstances.
Fakolujo, who stated this during the maiden lecture of the Entrepreneurship Skills Development Centre of the school, noted that the number of unemployed and unemployable graduates in the country is alarming and requires urgent intervention.
According to him, the desire to alleviate the problem of graduate unemployment in the country led to the directive to introduce entrepreneurship studies in the Nigerian university system by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2002.
He recalled that in the 2007/2008 academic session, every university was then mandated to establish an entrepreneurship centre, staffed with artisans, where every undergraduate is expected to acquire two or three skills out of those offered in the centre.
He stated that “this reaffirmed the university’s slogan; “The First Entrepreneurial University in Nigeria”, saying the ideology behind the establishment of the centre was to balance the theory and application of entrepreneurship education and further create “entrepreneurial mindset” in students and to mitigate the menace of unemployment in Nigeria.
He, however, said students enrolled in entrepreneurship education are more likely to use prior knowledge and alertness to recognize new business opportunities and align their motivations toward starting a new venture than other students.
He said, “It is an action meant to identify where rooms for improvement exist and to deliberate on how to move entrepreneurship education forward in Nigeria and at the Joseph Ayo Babalola University in particular.
“If applied entrepreneurship education is reinvigorated in the context of this millennia generation of youths which is the largest in history, this world would be transformed positively.
“Needless to say, that a lot of people are wallowing in poverty, they need to be provided with appropriate education and training to leverage on, so as to develop entrepreneurial mindset which will empower them to give back to society.
“There is the need to reinvigorate applied entrepreneurship education that will stimulate entrepreneurial mindsets of this millennia. Mitigation strategies for resolving the menace of youth unemployment, among other things, must address both labour supply (through education, skills development and training) and labour demand through job creation and an enabling environment for entrepreneurship”
He stated further that “Entrepreneurship development has been established as a key driver of employment generation. Meaningful jobs cannot be created for youths without viable enterprises.Therefore, in Nigeria, an institutionalised and integrated approach to entrepreneurship development is a necessity”
Speaking during the lecture titled “Restructuring Entrepreneurship Education in Developing Countries”, Dr. Titilayo Olubunmi Olaposi of African Institute for Science Policy and Innovation, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, said entrepreneurship enhances self-reliance and employment.
She said the objective of introducing entrepreneurship education into the Nigerian universities curricula was to empower students to be able to harness opportunities, be self-reliant and become job-creators rather than job-seekers.
She stated that entrepreneurship has a significant impact on local communities. It creates job opportunities, stimulates economic growth, and fosters a supportive and connected community.
She however, explained that development of entrepreneurial spirit and entrepreneurship culture is highly essential, noting that the current entrepreneurship education model in Nigeria needs to be restructured to embrace technology commercialization.
She advised that “students must be supported to identify opportunities from their courses of study and from their environment to solve identified problems.
“Student startups must be supported by staff experts, company partners and alumni while entrepreneurship programmes should be built to meet diverse goals and needs”
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