N-POWER PROGRAMME AS A TOOL FOR REDUCING UNEMPLOYMENT IN NIGERIA
Background of the Study
Entrepreneurship education as a functional education which can be used as a panacea for unemployment, and poverty eradication for national security, because education has remained the major instrument for national development for many countries of the world. That is the reason most nations of the world spend huge sums of money to provide education for their citizens. Thus education becomes a veritable platform for tackling socio-cultural, economic, political, scientific and technological challenges facing many nations.
According to Agi and Yellowe (2013) education is important to the development of human resources, impartation of appropriate skills, knowledge and attitude. It is the basis for transformation, industrialization and a high way to global knowledge economy. Relating to security, Agi and Yellowe (2013) explained further that education is regarded as a means of achieving culture of peace, gender equality and positive African values. It is therefore the understanding of many that education leads to national transformation and development, through reduction in poverty with ensured peace and security.
The National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (2004) document lends credence to the place of education by clearly explaining its role in self-reliance and development, Agi and Yellowe (2013) also supports this when they asserted that the goals of wealth creation or generation, poverty reduction and value re-orientation can only be attained and sustained through an efficient education system which impacts the relevant skills, knowledge, capacities, attitudes and values.
In view of the benefits of education enumerated above, Nigeria has provided education for decades with abundant available manpower. However, what keeps agitating the nation endlessly borders on the slow and inefficient economy, near primitive democracy and violent social co-existence in society (NEEDS, 2004). Evidenced with many primary and secondary schools and tertiary institution’s graduates not gainfully employed either by self or government. Supporting this Ochonma (2011) reported that about 2.8 million fresh graduates enter the labour market yearly and only 10% of these are gainfully employed. Unemployment or joblessness, as defined by the International Labour Organization (1982) occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past five weeks. The unemployment rate is a measure of the prevalence of unemployment and it is calculated as a percentage by dividing the number of unemployed individuals by all individuals currently in the labour force. The Newsweek (2011) reported that more than 200 million people globally are out of work, a record high, as almost two-thirds of advanced economies and half of developing countries are experiencing a slowdown in employment growth.
Dependence on jobs to make money to buy food and shelter was the beginning of unemployment. Because it has not always been acknowledged or measured systematically, there are limited historical records on unemployment. Recognition of unemployment occurred slowly as economies across the world industrialized and bureaucratized. The recognition of the concept of “unemployment” is best exemplified through the well documented historical records in England. For example, in 16th century England no distinction was made between vagrants and the jobless as they were simply categorised as “sturdy beggars”, to be punished and moved on (Business Week, 2011). An individual who cannot either join an enterprise or create a job is unemployed. As individual farmers, merchants, and artisans organize themselves into large enterprises, those who cannot join or compete favourably become unemployed. As population was rising, those unable to find work had a choice: starve or break the law.
Youth unemployment across the world has reached a new high and is likely to climb further. The youth population in sub-Sahara Africa was estimated at 138 million people in 2002-2003, with 28.9 million or 21% of them unemployed (ILO, 2004b). There are notable differences in youth unemployment with regard to gender. The unemployment rate for young women in sub-Sahara Africa is 18.4%, lower than the rate for young men (23.1%) even though young women’s participation rate is lower. Youth unemployment in Africa also has a geographical dimension. It is generally higher in the urban areas than in rural areas. Several factors account for higher youth unemployment rate in Africa, most notably low economic growth, low economic activity and low investment. These related factors contribute to low job creation and because of sustained (increase in some cases) population growth the small labour market is unable to absorb the resulting army of job seekers.
Youth unemployment has been increasing because most graduates lack relevant marketable skills. The Federal government recently acknowledged that about 80 percent of Nigeria’s youth are unemployed while 10 percent are underemployed (Daily Trust, 2008). According to the National Bureau of statistics (2010) the national unemployment rates for Nigeria between 2000 and 2009 showed that unemployed persons constituted 31.1%, 13.6% in 2001, 12.6% in 2002, 13.4% in 2004, 13.7% in 2006, 14.9% in 2008, and 19.7% in 2009. With respect to age group, education and sex NBS (2010) data showed that persons aged between 15 and 24 years had 41.6% unemployed. For persons between 25 and 44 years, 17% were unemployed. For persons with primary education 14.8% were unemployed while those with post secondary education had 21.3% unemployed. As regards sex, data showed that males constituted 17.% of the unemployed while females constituted 23.3%.
Entrepreneurship is not just skill acquisition for acquisition sake; it is an acquisition of skills and ideas for the sake of creating employment for oneself and also for others. It also includes the development based on creativity (Oseni, Momoh and Momodu, 2012). Entrepreneurship leads to the development of small, medium and sometimes large scale businesses based on creativity and innovation. The success of these businesses in turn helps in developing the nation’s economy. It equally reduces poverty rate with visible increment in employment rate among the youth. Entrepreneurship shifts young people from being “job seekers” to “job creators” and also from social dependence to self sufficient people. However, training is very essential in entrepreneurship.
In a similar vein, Chiguta (2001) notes that entrepreneurship has been receiving increasing recognition as a source of job creation, empowerment for the unemployed and economic dynamism in a rapidly globalizing world. Unemployment rate was discovered to be negatively related to entrepreneurial development (Oladele, Akeke and Oladunjoye, 2011). High rate of unemployment has been associated with low level of entrepreneurial development in any country. This justifies the need to increase entrepreneurial activities to reduce the high rate of youth unemployment.
Statement of the Problem
Analyzing the problem of education in Nigeria, Agi and Yellowe (2013) argued that the problem is not about curriculum or investment in education neither is it non-availability of manpower for the sector, but that many have tended to look in the direction of management of education which include lack of policy analysis to make students to fit into society, yet not relying on the government of the day but the managerial ingenuity of educational managers and administrators to make education a building block of socio-economic empowerment, prosperity, self-reliance, employment crime reduction and national security, through improved access to quality, functional eduction at all levels.
Quoting Mills, Nwadiani (2011) noted that education embraces not only the deliberate processes of schooling but it includes even indirect and incidental influences. This concept of education discusses formal and informal education; seeing education as going beyond the formal school system and includes non-formal education which makes the whole process of learning a continuous one terminating at dearth. However, because of recent happenings – unemployment, underemployment, poverty and their re-occurring effects, many people have hitherto criticized formal education for lack of its relevance while some others also strongly looked down on informal education as being unable to promote the much needed development, scientific and technological breakthrough.
According to Nwadiani (2011) there are misconceptions that non-formal education is cheap, designed and meant for the poor and it is only suitable to developing countries. It must therefore be noted that these fallacious misconceptions are forces against the acceptance and popularization of the entrepreneurship in Nigeria’s educational policy making and implementation.
Purpose of Study
The main purpose of the study is to examine the effect of N-power programme in addressing unemployment challenges in Nigeria. Specifically, the objectives were to:
- Students’ perceptions on the causes of unemployment in Nigeria.
- Students’ perceptions on the effects of unemployment in Nigeria.
- Students’ perceptions on the need for N-power as a form of entrepreneurial education in solving the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
The following research questions have been highlighted to guide the study.
- What are students’ perceptions on the causes of unemployment in Nigeria?
- What are Students’ perceptions on the effects of unemployment in Nigeria?
- Students’ perceptions on the need for N-power as an entrepreneurship education in solving the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
Significance of the Study
This study will be of benefit to university lecturers, students, government and the university management. The study will show to them the causes, the effects of unemployment and the need for entrepreneurship education e.g N-power in solving the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
To university lecturers, the study will unveil to them the areas to concentrate in the school syllabus in order to develop entrepreneurial minds of students for creative employment and also help the show the need for introducing entrepreneurship education into the school curriculum in Nigeria.
To the parents, the study of their children during child birth and training cannot be determined towards the course of study in higher institution. Lastly, the findings from the study will show to the government the role of entrepreneurship education in solving the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
Scope of the Study
This study examines the relevance entrepreneurship education in addressing unemployment challenges in Nigeria with reference to N-power empowerment programme organized by the federal government to assist youth with finances and also to help be an entrepreneur. The study will be undertaken among undergraduates from the two public universities in Edo state which are: Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma and university of Benin.
Definition of Terms
For the better understanding of this research work, some of the terms and concepts used need further explanation. These includes
Unemployment: Unemployment occurs when people are without work and actively seeking for work. It is a situation where someone of working age is not able to get a job but would like to be in full time employment. Unemployment is a measure of the prevalence of unemployment and it is calculated as a parentage by dividing the number of unemployed individual by all individuals currently in the labour force.
Entrepreneurship Education: Entrepreneurship Education seeks to provide students with the knowledge, skills and motivation to encourage entrepreneurship education focuses on realization of opportunity, where management education is focused on the best way to operate existing hierarchies. Both approaches share an interest in achieving “profit” in some form and variations of entrepreneurship education are offered at all levels of schooling from primary or secondary schools through graduate university programs.
Perception: Perception is the act or facility of perceiving or apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind, perception is the organization identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical or chemical stimulation of sense organs.