1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Entrepreneurship is now seen as an important component within contemporary economic development of a nation. Its critical role to the economy of nations is now widely acknowledged within the literature. Experts in the field were of the opinion that entrepreneurship is regarded as a catalyst for economic growth, employment and wealth creation, Henry, et al (2003). Furthermore, the European Commission (2003) shared the same view and in addition suggests that entrepreneurship is a major driver of innovation, competitiveness and economic strength of a modern nation. They further emphasize the important role which business education has in the development of entrepreneurial mindsets and talents especially in enhancing entrepreneur competency.
Business education is a widely given high scores on the agenda of many governments. Such governments depend on the development of entrepreneurship through business education as the major source for their economic prosperity, growth and development. It is a kind of new concept which signifies not only quality education but also pay attention to the development of an individual practical ability and competency of students. It is also described as a new method of teaching that promotes students innovative spirit, skills and attitudes which consequently make them after graduation to suitable career and become professional business creator, European Commission, (2003) concluded.
This growth in business education in enhancing entrepreneur competency is reflected internationally. For example the European Commission (2008a) observes that almost half of Europe’s students at tertiary institutions have full access to business education to enhance their innovative competencies in establishing small venture after graduation. In a related development, Khan and Almoharby, (2007) highlight the rapid development of the course in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. The European Commission (2004a), for example, posits that entrepreneurship is one of the key components to be included in current educational systems in order to prepare people for successful participation in society. In fact, the contribution of business education in promoting entrepreneurship to the world economy is well recognized.
Certainly business education is considered as a complex subject to study in the context of teaching and learning because it depends on the individuals self regulated actions and characteristics that may not be easy to influence. It is against this background that, there is still ongoing debate whether we can teach students to become competent entrepreneur (Fiet, 2004). However, there is now a consensus, in the literature at least, that business education can be taught and the debate has now shifted to what should be taught and how it should be taught (Ismail, 2011).
It is now generally agreed that most of researches conducted on business education have focused on course contents, pedagogical and audience characteristics. In this respect, the effectiveness of business education can also be measured in terms of teachersâ€Ÿ entrepreneurial competencies. The development of business education however, is not as institutionalized as the development of education for the traditional management courses. Educators who hold master’s and doctorate degrees in entrepreneurship are very rare all over the world. In addition, the uniqueness of the studentsâ€Ÿ needs and the course requirements entails specific and special teaching skills to match the two. One of the perceived tools to address and match these basic education needs is to first conduct an analysis of entrepreneurial competencies, Gatchalian, (2010).
A research conducted in Malaysia indicates that teaching approaches appear to be inappropriate and educators do not appear to have relevant skills, knowledge or training. There are so many shortcomings and challenges which the entrepreneurship educators are facing (Ismail, 2010). The aim of the study is to examine the entrepreneur competencies required by business education students in establishing small scale ventures in Akwa Ibom state.
.1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
For many developing countries, development of entrepreneurial competencies has been a powerful engine of economic growth and wealth creation, and is crucial for improving the quality, number and variety of employment opportunities for the poor. It has several multiplier effects on the economy, spurs innovation, and fosters investment in people, which is a better source of competitive advantage than other natural resources, which can be depleted. Entrepreneurial competencies in business education students will enable them to create new enterprises, new commercial activities, and new economic sectors. They generate jobs for others; they produce goods and services for society; they introduce new technologies and improve or lower cost outputs; and they earn foreign exchange through export expansion or substitution of imports.
According to (Abdullahi, 2008) for countries to accelerate their economic growth and development, it is necessary for them to build up critical mass of first generation entrepreneurs because development is now being linked more and more to entrepreneurs. It stands as a vehicle to improve the quality of life for individuals, families and to sustain a healthy economy and environment. This can lead to economic development and the advancement private enterprises.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will cover the curriculum of business education with a view of ascertaining if it is capable of developing entrepreneurial competency in students.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
European Commission, (2003a) Green paper Entrepreneurship in Europe (Internal) Available from http://ec.europa.eu/invest-inresearch/pdf/download.
European Commission (2003b) Creating entrepreneurial Europe-The activities of European Union for small Union for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) http//www.ukie.gov.pl/HLP/files.nsf
European Commission. 2004. Making Progress in Promoting Entrepreneurial Attitudes and Skills through Primary and Secondary Education. Final report of the expert group“ Education for Entrepreneurship”. Enterprise Directorate General of the European Commission. Brussels, Belgium.
European Commission, (2008a) Entrepreneurship in higher education, especially within non-business studies, European Commission, Brussels.
Fiet J O, et al., (20004) Systematic Search by repeat entrepreneurs. In J (Butler Research in Entrepreneurship & Management). Greenwhich , CT: Information Age Publication.
Ismail, M,Z (2010). Developing Entrepreneurship Education: Empirical Findings from Malaysian Polytechnic. (Doctoral Dissertation, the University of Hull United Kingdom.
Gatchalia, M.LB. (2010) The International Journal of Research and Review. Volume5, Time Taylor International
Henry. C., Hill. F and Lettch. C. (2003) “Entrepreneurship Education and Training,”Ashgate Publishing Limited, England.