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Self-Employment Skills Possessed By Business Education Students Of Colleges Of Education For Sustainable Development In Cross River State

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Abstract

One of the goals of NCE business education programme is the acquisition of both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to be self- reliant and useful members of the society. In spite of available business opportunities, and conducive environment for businesses to thrive in Cross River state, Business Education graduates are yet to maximize these opportunities, by using their creative abilities in establishing jobs for themselves and others instead, the business graduates go about the streets in search of jobs which are either few in supply or not available leading to high rate of unemployment, which has led to frustration and low self-esteem, and other negative vices amongst NCE graduates. It was on this note the study was conducted to determine the self-employment skills possessed by business education students of Colleges of Education for sustainable development in Cross River State. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design and was conducted in Federal College of Education Obudu and College of Education Akamkpa, Cross River State. The population for the study was 745 made up of: 425 NCE final year students of Business Education from Federal College of Education Obudu, and 320 NCE final year students of Business Education from College of Education Akamkpa. The sample of the study was 384 made up of 206 and 178 respondents from the Federal College of Education Obudu and College of Education Akamkpa respectively. A structured questionnaire containing 63 items was used to elicit responses from respondents and generate data for the study. The instrument was face-validated by three experts in the Department of Vocational Education was used to collect data from the respondents. The study made use of Cronbach Alpha reliability method Sto determine the internal consistency of the instrument. The data collected for the study was analyzed using mean to answer the research questions and standard deviation to determine the closeness or otherwise of the responses from the mean, while t -test statistic was used to test the null hypothesis of no significant difference at the probability of 0.05 level of significance at relevant degree of freedom with the use of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Findings from the analysis showed that business education students of Colleges of Education in Cross River State slightly possess creative skills, information and communication skills, marketing skills and accounting skills for self employment and sustainable development. Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended amongst others that Business education students should be mandated to develop a viable business plan before graduation as this would bring out their creative abilities in creating jobs for themselves in particular and the nation at large.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Business Education is an educational programme that prepares students for entry and advancement in jobs within business and to handle their business affairs as well as to function intelligently as consumers and citizens in a business economy. Osuala (2004) defined business education as that aspect of vocational education, which emphasizes job competency, career preparation and work adjustments. It involves acquisition of special skills in business subject areas. Njoku (2006) defined business education as an educational programme that equips individuals with functional and sustainable skills, knowledge, attitude and value that would enable the individuals  operate in the environment such individuals find themselves. Business education programme is offered at various levels of tertiary education: Universities, Polytechnics, and Colleges of Education.

College of Education according to the Nigerian Academy of Management Administration (2014) is an educational programme created to prepare individuals to be leaders and practitioners in education and related human service fields by expanding and deepening understanding of education as a fundamental human endeavour in helping society define and respond to its educational responsibilities and challenges. At this level of education, the programme prepares the individual for a career in teaching, employment in industries, civil service and business establishment as well as self-employment (Ubong & Wokocha, 2009). There are two Colleges of Education in Cross River State: Federal College of Education Obudu, located at the urban area of the State, has a better and conducive environment and opportunities for entrepreneurship to thrive unlike the College of Education Akamkpa, which is located at the rural area of the State, which is characterized by lack of market and infrastructural facilities for businesses to flourish. However, both Colleges run a Business Education programme, which lead to the award of Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) after three years of full-time postsecondary study.

The Business Education programme is very relevant in Cross River State, which is tagged a “Civil Service State” due to few companies, industries and businesses that employ the youths, thus, the burden of employment in the State lies mainly on Government. The lack of employment generating agencies has led to high rate of unemployment in the State since the government alone cannot absorb all the graduates, including NCE graduates. Evidence of unemployment and under-employment in the State remain at high level. According to State Planning Commission (2012), the unemployment rate of the youths in 2009, 2010 and 2011 were 32.9%, 35.3% and 35.9% respectively. The records also show that over 40% of the unemployed persons in Cross River State had Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) inclusive of business education graduates. From the above report, it therefore, means that the business education NCE student, who in this study is referred as the final year business education students, go about in search of jobs that do not exist, thus, increasing the rate of unemployment in the State. The implication of the above statistics is that Business Education programme, which aimed at graduating knowledgeable, skilled, and competent individuals that can be self employed and also create jobs in the society, thereby reducing the unemployment situation in the State is not meeting up with her objectives.

The objectives of Business Education at NCE level are: to produce well qualified and competent NCE graduates in business subjects who will be able to teach business subjects in secondary schools and other related educational institutions; to produce NCE business teachers who will be able to inculcate the vocational aspects of Business Education into the society… and to equip graduates with the right skills that will enable them to engage in a life of work in the office as well as for self-employment (Njoku, 2006). Osuala (2004) noted that Business Education programme is robust enough to equip individuals with skills and knowledge for employment, thereby combating unemployment and poverty, and enhancing sustainable development.

Sustainable development according to Lemchi (2012) is that development which meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Anyakoha (2010) rightly stated that sustainable development is a holistic approach to improving the quality of human life. Meeting human needs for present and future generation stands out as the bedrock of sustainable development. Thus, Business Education programme certainly has a role to play in ensuring sustainable development. This role would require the Business Education graduate to possess divergent thinking and problem solving skills, and innovative strategies in creating and sustaining jobs. Lemchi (2006) identified certain tools that the Business Education graduate should possess for effective realization of sustainable development to include entrepreneurship education, creativity, Information and Communication Technologies amongst others.

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To possess is to have as an attribute, knowledge or power to acquaint or inform at any point in time. The attitude or quality possessed by an individual is the key factor to the realization of the potentials within the individual. Knowledge possession only is not enough for individual to be self sufficient’ as is the case in Colleges of Education which emphasizes knowledge acquisition to practical dexterity of the individual. Therefore the individual has to possess skills in creativity, attitude as well as general knowledge.

Creativity according to Onu (2009) is a mental process undertaken by an individual or group to solve specific problems resulting in the production of statistically infrequent solutions which are useful to the society and the creator. Creativity obviously involves some form of display of ability to do something and most often in a new way. It involves developing problem solving skills, evolving new technologies and ways of solving problem. Lemchi (2012) asserted that possession of creative skill gives rise to self employment. Creativity and innovation are considered to be inseparable from entrepreneurship, which in turn, manifested in the act of starting up and running enterprise. (Pretorios, Millard & Kruger, 2005). The reverse of creativity, which is the hall mark of business students according to Omeke (2011), is poverty, bottle necks in bureaucracy, decrease in potentials for improved social norms, lack of reforms, poor mindset, lack of new ventures and poor organisation. When creativity is lacking, it is obvious that a coherent framework for the implementation of a strong entrepreneurial culture will equally be missing; thus, resulting in unemployment, lack of due process to encourage innovation, and growth of crime. Therefore, creative skill acquisition is advocated for business students.

Skill is the ability to do a task expertly. Bolt-Lee and Foster (2003) posited that skill is the art of possessing the ability, power, authority, or competency to do the task required of an individual on the job. Two fundamental issues are used when a skill is to be acquired According to Okoro and Ursula (2012), the first is the conditions which promote acquisition and the second is the change that will occur when the skill is acquired. Igwe (2008) says that when somebody acquires skills in any occupation, such a person can establish his own business and even employ others. The person becomes self-reliant, self-sufficient and self employed.

Self-employment refers to the situation where an individual creates and takes control of a business decisions.. Abdulkarim (2012) defined self-employment as working for oneself. The implication is that the person is his own boss and he takes every decision involving the business. Self-employment is an important driver of entrepreneurship and job creation and thus contributes to the development and growth in job creation. Self-employment could be in agricultural sectors, wholesale and retail trade, construction and in professional, scientific and technical activities. Self-employment is regarded very highly as people do not only provide themselves with work but employ others. It is seen as a way to reduce poverty and unemployment and contributes to the government’s goal of achieving higher growth and more jobs. According to European Employment Observatory Review (2010), job creation through self-employment is also a key feature of labour market policies in Bulgaria, France, Austria and Iceland. Thus, a man who is self employed is that person who owns, controls and takes responsibilities for the actions concerning the business. These responsibilities are included in the curriculum contents of NCE business education programme in order to equip the students with the necessary skills, knowledge and attitude for either paid or self employment.

Curriculum refers to all students’ school experiences relating to the improvement of skills and strategies in thinking critically and creatively, solving problems, working collaboratively with others, communicating well, writing more effectively, reading more analytically, and conducting research to solve problems (Brown, 2006). According to Silva (2009) curriculum emphasises on what students can do with knowledge, rather than what units of knowledge they have, the essence of 21st-century skills. Curriculum refers to a group of courses or planned experiences in proper sequence of topics designed to prepare an individual for efficient service in a specific vocation, it is the offering of a socially valued knowledge, skills and attitudes that is made available to students through a variety of arrangements in schools, colleges or the universities or other arrangements (Adebayo & Lawal, 2011). Business Education curriculum therefore has to do with the goals, contents, learning experiences, implementation and evaluation of the outcome of a learning programme.

The curriculum content of business education programme consists of different courses with different objectives. These courses formed the curriculum contents of Business Education programme at the College of Education level with the aim of helping to bring about the desired behaviour in the learner (Inegbedion, Njoku & Ekpeyoung, 2009). Inegbedion, Njoku & Ekpeyoung (2009), enumerated the specific subjects to be learnt by students at the College of Education level as follow: Business Communication, Business Mathematics, Auditing & Taxation, Business Finance and Economics, Business Law, Business Statistics, Commerce, Computer Application, Cost Accounting, Financial accounting, Methodology, Office Practice, Principles of Marketing, Principles of Management, Research, Shorthand Theory, Typewriting (Keyboarding), Entrepreneurship, and SIWES. According to Ezeani (2012), business education is however, broadly divided into three areas, which provide many career opportunities in Business Education such as – Marketing/Distributive education: retailing, wholesaling, advertising and public relation; Accounting Education: record keeping, preparation of financial report, auditing, consultancy services, and Office/Technology education: word processing, data management, Cyber cafe among others. Business education is a vital tool for entrepreneurship. It is primarily concerned with assisting the individual to be useful as well as improving their knowledge in the business world which will in turn lead to the improvement of the society at large. Business Education curriculum at the College of Education level equips the students with skills in entrepreneurship, marketing, accounting, ICT and office management which will enable the students become self employed on graduation.

Entrepreneurship is a process of bringing together creative and innovative ideas, combining them with management and organization skills in order to meet an identified need and thereby create wealth (Agomuo, 2002). It is the willingness and ability of an individual to seek out investment opportunities, establish and run an enterprise successfully. Entrepreneurship is thus, the process of learning the skills needed to assume the risk of establishing a business. Akpotowoh and Amahi (2006) opined that the skills acquired in any of the functional areas of business related progamme promotes training in entrepreneurship as well as equip graduates with requisite potentials to establish and run small businesses on their own. According to Ademiluyi (2007), entrepreneurship skills are simply business skills which individuals acquire to enable them effectively function in the turbulent business environment as an entrepreneur or self-employed. Akinola (2001) pointed out that it takes special skills to succeed as an entrepreneur most especially the female folks. The future of the female entrepreneurs becomes worrisome due to gender-related discriminations prevalent in developing countries like Nigeria inclusive (Roomi & Parrot, 2008; May, 2007; Otero, 1999). The females are also mostly affected by poverty and unemployment than their male counterparts (Mohd & Hassan, 2008; Porter & Nagarajan, 2005; Maduagwu, 2000). Moreover, the females lack interest in discussing entrepreneurship issues with their family and friends, in addition to their lack of self confidence (Shane, 2003). Erhurum (2007) also noted that most entrepreneurial skills come by learning and practicing. Nevertheless, the various skills embedded in business related programmes need to be explored and learnt by prospective graduates for them to succeed as later entrepreneurs. it is important therefore that every entrepreneur possesses the basic or fundamental knowledge of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills for effective management of the business.

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Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skill is defined as the ability to use digital technologies, communication tools, and/or networks to solve information problems in order to function well in an information society (Educational Testing Service (ETS), 2008). ICT skill is the ability to use technology as a tool to research, organise, evaluate, and communicate information and the possession of a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of information. The ICT skills required by NCE students are those outlined by Oliver and Towers (2000), and Gnudi and Lorenzi, 2002) as the ability to: independently operate personal computer systems; use software for preparing and presenting work; use internet and its various features; access and use information from World Wide Web (WWW); use an e-learning platform and perform data analysis with computer packages like Excel, DBASE, and others. It is most unfortunate that business graduate lack the skills of ICT in facilitating the marketing of goods and services, and as such, limits the penetration and awareness of their products in the market.

Marketing skills on the other hand are important and essential skills which determine the extent of success or failure of a business. A business graduate should understand marketing not in the old sense of making a sale – ‘telling and selling’ – but in the modern sense of satisfying customer’s needs. Selling occurs only after a product is produced. By contrast, marketing starts long before a company has a product. Marketing is the homework that managers undertake to assess needs, measure their extent and intensity and determine whether a profitable opportunity exists (Kotler, Wong, Saunders & Armstrong, 2005). Farese, Kimbrell and Woloszyk (2006) defined marketing as the process of planning, pricing, promoting, selling, and distributing ideas, goods, or services to create exchanges that satisfy customers. This means that marketing is a dynamic process. A marketer needs to keep up with trends and consumer attitudes. The products, ideas, or services developed and the way the products are priced, promoted, and distributed should reflect these trends and attitudes. Business graduates require these marketing skills in order to enable them identify their potential customers; persuade them to buy their products or services, and by so doing  maintain good accounting practice and records to keep track of how much money they have, where it came from, and how it is spent.

Accounting is the systematic recording of financial transactions. It is a service activity, the function of which is identifying, measuring, recording and communicating quantitative information, primarily financial in nature, about economic entities. Ezeani (2008) sees accounting as the process of expressing the economic activities of everyday life in monetary terms, so as to estimate the costs of creating goods and services, make decisions about production on the basis of these estimates, compare the actual costs as they occur with the estimate originally made, and adjust the output and prices of goods and services accordingly. Business students should acquire knowledge and competencies of financial accounting as success can only come through such efforts. The entrepreneur should possess high level skills in preparing and interpreting financial statements, maintain records of receipts and payments (cash book), income and expenditure and a balance sheet for the business.

In spite of the fact that Business Education programme equips individual with necessary skills for self employment, Business Education graduates are yet to maximize these opportunities in creating jobs for themselves and others instead, they roam the streets in search of jobs, which are either few in supply or not available. Even the few ones who try to establish businesses, before now, the businesses have collapse as a result of poor location of business, creative thinking, communication, marketing and   keeping of accounting records abilities (Osuala, 2004). Therefore, the skills possessed by NCE business education students for self-employment in Cross River State is doubtful considering the rate of unemployment in the State.

Statement of the Problem

One of the goals of NCE business education programme is the acquisition of both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to be self- reliant and useful members of the society. It is the statutory duty of the Nigerian higher education to groom the required human capital through relevant manpower training, abilities, attitudes, skills and knowledge. An outstanding human capital assumption is that after finishing formal tertiary education, graduates should be able to make a successful transition from these institutions of higher learning to become productive workers, self-reliant entrepreneurs, responsible parents, good citizens, selfless leaders, and live healthy lives. It is assumed, also that on graduation, young people could have developed additional skills through training and experience that could further enhance their opportunities, capabilities and success in their life endeavour.

In spite of available business opportunities, and conducive environment for businesses to thrive in Cross River state, Business Education graduates are yet to maximize these opportunities, by using their creative abilities in creating jobs for themselves and others instead, the business graduates go about the streets in search of jobs, which are either few in supply or not available. This high rate of unemployment has generated frustration and low self-esteem amongst NCE graduates in Cross River State, and has led to increased vulnerability among some youths to drugs, disease, social instability, conflict, militancy, hooliganism, greater poverty, thuggery, arm robbery, restiveness, ethnic-political clashes and other social vices. Unemployment has also led to the marginalization and exclusion of young people from social activities and also, the affairs of government due to inferiority complex. According to Uwem & Ndem (2012), unemployment has exposed Cross River youths to greater risks of lower future wages, impose heavy social and economic costs, which result not only in lost economic growth, but also in erosion of the tax base, increased welfare costs, and unused investment in education and training. It is very damaging for young people in particular and for societies in general.

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Self-employment becomes the answer in addressing the unemployment issues in the State. Ironically, most people engage into self-employment without acquiring much skills and competences in management of the business activities, marketing and creating awareness of the business products, and effectively keeping records of the financial statements of the business, that will ensure successful operations of the business; as a result of these attitudes, failure followed instead of success. The business failure is not because the business graduates do not have the necessary capital and machines to stay afloat, but because the graduates lack the requisite skills in entrepreneurship, marketing, accounting and communication and information technology, to deal with the process of recognizing a business opportunity, operate and maintain such businesses as well as grow from a small position to a bigger one. It is in this note that the study seeks to determine the: creative, marketing, accounting and ICT skills possessed by NCE business education students on graduation for self-employment and sustainable development in Cross River State.

Purpose of the Study

The major purpose of the study was to determine the self-employment skills possessed by Business Education students of Colleges of Education for sustainable development in Cross River State. Specifically, the study sought to determine the:

  1. creative skills possessed by Business Education students of Colleges of Education for sustainable development;
  2. Information and Communication Technology skills possessed by Business Education students of Colleges of Education for sustainable development;
  3. marketing skills possessed by Business Education students of Colleges of Education for sustainable development; and
  4. accounting skills possessed by Business Education students of Colleges of Education for sustainable development.

Significance of the Study

The findings of this study would be of benefits to the Government, the Society, Teachers, students, entrepreneurs, employers of labour, and researchers. To the Government, the findings on creative skills possessed by Business Education students of Colleges of Education for sustainable development would be of benefit because useful guidelines for evaluating the products of business education programme for self-employment would be provided. The feedback gotten from the evaluation of the business education products would helps the government in channeling and providing a conducive environment for self-employment to thrive. Also, the findings on creative skills would be of benefit to the society by exposing the students to better opportunities in job creation thus reducing the unemployment woes and improving the standard of living of the society, reducing incidence of youth’s restiveness and dropout since jobs would be created in the process.

The findings on Information and Communication skills possessed by business education students would be of benefit to the teachers and students. The findings would provide information on ICT usage to the teachers for collaborative, creative, and interactive teaching/learning process, thus, eliminating the artificial separation between the different disciplines and between theory and practice that characterizes the traditional approach. To the students, the findings would expose to them the functionality of the various computer packages and their application for success in self employment, and also to provide opportunities for the students to work with people from different cultures through the aid of communication devices, thereby helping to enhance learners teaming and communication skills as well as their global awareness.

The findings on the marketing skills possessed by business education students would be of benefit to the entrepreneur in providing information on how to make vital business decisions as “getting the price right” which is an important factor in retail marketing. The acquisition of marketing skills will benefit the entrepreneur in identifying their potential customers; persuade them to buy their product or services.  Also, sales and marketing skills will keep the entrepreneur informed, knowledgeable and confident as to determine the most efficient method of physical distribution of goods and services.

The findings on accounting skills possessed by Business Education student would be of benefit to employers of labour because the whole of business life revolves within the ability to maintain accurate records of all business transaction in an organisation. As such, the findings will reveal the necessary knowledge, skills and attitude necessary for efficient planning and financial calculation required for occupational competence, measurement of economic activities of an organization, recording and communicating interest to parties for analysis and interpretation.

Finally, the findings on self-employment skills possessed by Business Education students of Colleges of Education would be of benefit to future researchers as a reference point and a base for improving the knowledge of the researcher; and also making more contributions to the world of knowledge.

Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:

  1. What are the creative skills possessed by Business Education students of Colleges of Education for sustainable development in Cross River State?
  2. What are the ICT skills possessed by Business Education students of Colleges of Education for sustainable development in Cross River State?
  3. What are the marketing skills possessed by Business Education students of Colleges of Education for sustainable development in Cross River State?
  4. What are the accounting skills possessed by Business Education students of Colleges of Education for sustainable development in Cross River State?

Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses formulated for the study was tested at 0.05 level of significance:

Ho1:     There is no significant difference in the mean responses of NCE Business Education students of State and Federal College of Education on the creative skills possessed for self-employment.

Ho2:     There is no significant difference in the mean responses of male and female students of business education in Colleges of Education on the ICT skills possessed for self-employment.

Ho3:     Location is not a significant source of difference in the mean responses of business education students of Colleges of Education in Cross River State on the marketing skills possessed for self-employment.

Ho4:     There is no significant difference in the mean responses of students of State and Federal Colleges of Education in Cross River State on the accounting skills possessed for self-employment.

Delimitation of the Study

The study wass focused on determining the self-employment skills possessed by Business Education students of Colleges of Education for sustainable development in Cross River State. Although there are many self-employment skills a business graduate from the colleges of education should possess, this study is only delimited to creative skills, marketing skills, accounting skills and ICT skills possessed by business education students of College of Education Akamkpa and Federal College of Education Obudu for self-employment and sustainable development in Cross River State.


Pages:  158

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF               

Chapters: 1-5                                          

Source: Imsuinfo

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.

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