THE STATUS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION IN COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA ABSTRACT

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1 THE STATUS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION IN COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Jean D. Kabongo Department of Business Administration, Millersville University P.O. Box 1002, Millersville, PA , USA Phone : ABSTRACT This study aims to assess the current status of entrepreneurship course offerings, specialization, and centers in business program curricula in Colleges and Universities in Sub-Saharan Africa. It examines the availability of courses offered in the area and the characteristics of institutions that develop them. The results of the study demonstrate that the majority of higher education institutions offer a course in entrepreneurship and/or small business management. Few institutions offer a specialization in the area of entrepreneurship. A considerable number of newly created institutions report a course in entrepreneurship. The promotion of entrepreneurial activities through the establishment of entrepreneurship centers is not supported in the majority of institutions. Overall, entrepreneurship education in the institutions analyzed is marginalized and does not constitute a force in business programs offered. Keywords: entrepreneurship education, curricula, business programs, higher education institutions, Sub-Saharan Africa. INTRODUCTION The promotion of entrepreneurship education in Sub-Saharan African countries has not played an important role in the discussion on education or on entrepreneurship since the early years of independence in the 1960s. International institutions such as The African Development Bank, UNESCO and The World Bank have commissioned various studies aimed at identifying and investigating provisions for the integration of entrepreneurship training in the technical higher educational system [9]. Some attempts have also been made to promote technology transfer and regional innovation. Educating and training students in the various stages of entrepreneurship is a key aspect of the main areas of intervention including the creation and development of enterprises, access to finance, regulatory framework, and governance [6] [10]. A great number of studies have focused on technical and vocational training in selected countries as well as the promotion of entrepreneurial activities for the formal and informal sectors of the economy [7] [1]. Most of these studies have approached entrepreneurship education from multi-levels of analysis aimed at fostering the creation and development of small scale businesses among various economic sectors including farmers, artisans, small food producers, rural mineworkers, and vendors. The main objective of this paper is to further investigate the status of entrepreneurship education in Sub-Saharan Africa from a survey of online course catalogs in higher education institutions

2 ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Relatively few studies have addressed the issue of entrepreneurship education at the level of business degree programs offered at Colleges and Universities. Most of the research in entrepreneurship in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa has focused on general principles, theoretical mechanisms of starting up entrepreneurial ventures, and the implications of entrepreneurial success or failure at the macroeconomic level. Some authors have emphasized the critical success factors of an African entrepreneur, particularly the demographic characteristics, personal traits, social status and relations, behavioral patterns, and entrepreneurial competencies. Other studies have analyzed the pertinence of environmental variables, such as the political, legal, logistical, institutional, economic, and financial infrastructure of the entrepreneurial firm. The external environment within which the African entrepreneur operates has also been analyzed. For a summary of research on entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa, see [6]. Although these individual and organizational aspects of entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa are essential, they tend to overlook the perceived importance of entrepreneurship education at the level of business programs offered in higher education institutions. The research study designed here was driven by five central questions. First, what is the status of entrepreneurship course offerings in Sub-Saharan higher education institutions? Second, what is the nature of courses offered in the field of entrepreneurship? Third, to which extent students can specialized in the area of entrepreneurship. Fourth, do institutions of higher education promote entrepreneurial activities through entrepreneurship centers? Fifth, is there any trend in the business program curricula regarding entrepreneurship courses? To address these questions, that remain largely unanswered, I designed and conducted a survey of online course catalogs in a sample of higher education institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa. METHODOLOGY The list of institutions considered in the study was obtained from the Association of African Universities (AAU) website, the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) website, the International Association of Universities (IAU) website, and an in-depth search of websites. Based on the fact that Entrepreneurship education has been intensely analyzed in the context of South African Colleges and Universities [2], these institutions were not taken into account for the purpose of this study. Originally, 106 colleges and universities from 36 countries were considered in the study. 40 of the 106 (38 percent) institutions originally assessed had to be taken out of the study for the following reasons: websites were not accessible; course catalog was unavailable online; data were not sufficient to determine the existence of an entrepreneurship course; data were not available in English, French, Spanish, or Portuguese. Data of the study were obtained from the remaining 66 colleges and universities (62 percent) with available online course catalogs. In this study, I broke down the sample into four categories: age, ownership, primary focus of institutions of higher education, and location of entrepreneurship courses

3 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Characteristics of Colleges and Universities in the Study A total of 57 Colleges and Universities (86 percent of institutions studied) list in their curriculum, a course in entrepreneurship. Of these, 36 schools (63 percent) are traditional Colleges and Universities while 21 of them (37 percent) are newly created institutions. The difference between the number of traditional and newly created higher education institutions offering a course in the area of entrepreneurship is significant. However, the results suggest that newly created Colleges and Universities are more likely to develop and offer a course in the area of entrepreneurship than traditional institutions. Of the 57 schools offering a course in entrepreneurship, 32 are teaching institutions (56 percent), 20 of them (35 percent) have a research focus while 5 institutions (9 percent) are technology oriented. This demonstrates that teaching and research (91 percent) Colleges and Universities constitute the majority of the institutions where courses in the area of entrepreneurship are being offered. The difference between teaching and research institutions is quite significant. The results show that entrepreneurship courses are offered more at teaching institutions than at research institutions. This perhaps explains why entrepreneurship research in the context of Sub-Saharan countries has not been deeply exploited. Business programs in higher education institutions studied are not located in a monolithic administrative structure. Rather, they are structured into departments or programs in various fields of study. The majority of institutions studied (66 percent), offer courses in the area of entrepreneurship in schools other than, or in combination with, business/management. The location of entrepreneurship courses and programs inside or outside the schools of business administration can bear consequences for the future development of courses. Course Offerings in the area of Entrepreneurship Of the 57 institutions, fifty percent offer a course dedicated to the topic of small business/scale management. Of these, fourteen percent offer a combined course titled entrepreneurship and small business management. The descriptions and titles of courses demonstrate that entrepreneurship, or a part of it, is taught or at least encouraged [4] in the majority of Colleges and Universities in Sub-Saharan countries offering degrees in business administration. However, one thing was consistent in the data. The majority of schools offering a course in entrepreneurship/small business management do not require the course for the completion of the business program, with exception of students specializing in the area of entrepreneurship. Looking at the remaining courses offered in the area of entrepreneurship, the results indicate that twenty-one percent of institutions studied list a course in investment analysis, nineteen percent in project management, and twelve percent in venture capital and leadership development. Of 57 Colleges and Universities studied, only ten percent offer a course in innovation and technology, nine percent offer a course in brand management, and five percent offer respectively a course in business planning/growth, and creativity management. However, based on both course titles and course descriptions, courses with leadership and innovation or some close variant are treated regular entrepreneurship courses without much emphasis on leadership or innovation. This demonstrates that entrepreneurship education in the Colleges and Universities studied focuses

4 more on the awareness of entrepreneurship as a career [3] [5] and the management of small scale businesses. Entrepreneurship Programs A total of 16 Colleges and Universities (28 percent of institutions studied) offer a specialization in entrepreneurial studies. This takes into account both undergraduate and/or graduate degrees. Of these, 9 schools (56 percent) are traditional Colleges and Universities while 7 of them (44 percent) are newly created institutions. The difference between the number of traditional and newly created institutions offering a course in the area of entrepreneurship is not significant. This supports what stated earlier that newly created Colleges and Universities are more likely to develop and offer a course in the area of entrepreneurship than traditional institutions. Statefunded institutions constitute the majority (75 percent) of the schools offering a program in entrepreneurship. College and University Center for Entrepreneurship Of 57 Colleges and Universities studied, only 4 Colleges and Universities (7 percent of institutions studied) have an entrepreneurship center dedicated to entrepreneurial development, small business support, and microfinance research. Only one of twenty-one newly created institutions operates an entrepreneurship center. The same institution is also a private school. Three of the thirty-six traditional Colleges and Universities that are also state-funded higher education institutions operate respectively an entrepreneurship center. Of these, two are research oriented institutions. The remaining two are respectively teaching and technology focused schools. The small number of entrepreneurship centers in institutions studied shows that entrepreneurship centers are not frequently found at Colleges and Universities in Sub-Saharan Africa. This may suggest that perhaps they are desirable, but funds are lacking to start them. Despite the enormous call for finding ways to assist Sub-Saharan Africa in its efforts toward economic development, entrepreneurship education still lacks full consideration as a discipline in academia. Entrepreneurship education is not mainstreamed despite the fact that many studies have emphasized it as a critical factor in creating and developing an entrepreneurial perspective in younger generations. CONCLUSION The findings of the current study are to a large extent indicative. These findings shed light on the perceived importance of entrepreneurship courses, opportunity of specialized studies in the area, and entrepreneurship centers in business administration/management curricula in Sub-Saharan Colleges and Universities. Many studies have concluded that few Universities offer entrepreneurship courses in Sub-Saharan Africa [6] [11]. This study fills a gap in previous research by performing an analysis of entrepreneurship courses being currently offered. Moreover, it gives consistency to what a body of research has concluded in terms of weakness of entrepreneurship education at the level of Colleges and Universities. Lastly, the findings of this study can serve as guidelines for action, directing and challenging efforts and activities to strengthen the teaching of entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan business programs. Faculty, administrators, policymakers, and other stakeholders of higher education institutions can utilize

5 these findings as working tools in the implementation and development of entrepreneurship programs. Given the nature and number of entrepreneurship courses being offered, it is worth noting that the foundations of entrepreneurship education in Sub-Saharan Africa have not been established in the majority of institutions analyzed. Business programs in these higher education institutions should commit themselves to develop the entrepreneurial potential of each student as a strategy toward the creation of a younger generation with an entrepreneurship mindset, a lifelong journey, a commitment to dream, believe, and pursue [8]. This study represents a modest step toward the overall understanding of multiple facets of entrepreneurship education in Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. The state of overall economic development of each country may account for the differences found in educational institutions analyzed. Future research is needed to conduct the same study using a larger sample and incorporating economic development variables. Although such a large-scale research still presents a lot of challenges in terms of data collection, it can be argued that with the explosion of information technology in Sub-Saharan Africa, more Colleges and Universities will make their course catalogs accessible online. Additional research in the area of entrepreneurship course offerings should focus on the development of a model for an entrepreneurship program in business curriculum in the context of Sub-Saharan Colleges and Universities. This model can take into account variables such as the synergy between existing business disciplines within the school, the number of faculty, the availability of textbooks, and the possibility of getting the local business community involved. Future research needs to be conducted to determine key successful factors of an entrepreneurship program in existing Colleges and Universities. Finally, it would be interesting to conduct comparative and longitudinal research of business program curricula in higher education institutions. This research would help determine development and new course offering trends in business program curricula. Efforts should be aimed at developing or expanding entrepreneurship programs, and design of unique and challenging curricula, specifically designed for entrepreneurship students in Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. With more and more Colleges and Universities reporting required courses in entrepreneurship and small business management, more schools launching concentration in entrepreneurship, more institutions developing entrepreneurship centers, entrepreneurship education will explode in Sub-Saharan Africa. The increasing popularity of entrepreneurship at Colleges and Universities is more likely to bear changes in the development of small scale enterprises, employment growth, and industrialization of the region. The promotion of intellectual development through exemplary programs as many institutions studied define themselves cannot be accomplished without building an entrepreneurial spirit in each student. This entrepreneurship spirit is a prerequisite to entrepreneurial society and culture. Isn t what Sub-Saharan Africa needs the most for its overall economic growth in this globalized world? REFERENCES [1] Atchoarena, D. & Delluc, A. M. Revisiting Technical and Vocational Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: An update on trends, innovations and challenges. International Institute for Educational Planning. Paris: UNESCO,

6 [2] Co, M. J., & Mitchell, B Entrepreneurship education in South Africa. Education + Training, 48(5): [3] Donckels, R. Education and entrepreneurship experiences from secondary and university education in Belgium. Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 1991, 9(1), [4] Gorman, G., Hanlon, D., & King, W. Some research perspectives on entrepreneurship education, enterprise education, and education for small business management: A ten-year literature review. International Small Business Journal, 1997, 15, [5] Hills, G.E. Variations in university entrepreneurship education: An empirical study of an evolving field. Journal of Business Venturing, 1988, 3 (2), [6] Kiggundu, M.N. Entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in Africa: What is known and what needs to be done. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, October Accessed on December 4, [7] McGrath S., & King, K. Learning to grow? The importance of education and training for small and micro-enterprise development. In Kenneth King and Simon McGrath (Eds.), Enterprise in Africa: Between poverty and growth. London: Intermediate Technology Development Group Publishing, 1999, [8] Morris, M. Entrepreneurship intensity: Sustainable advantages for individuals, organizations, and societies. Westport, CT: Quorum Books, [9] National Institute of Technology. Integrated entrepreneurship Education in Botswana, Uganda, and Kenya. Final Report, The World Bank, [10] Okpara, J.O., & Wynn, P. Determinants of small business growth constraints in a Sub- Saharan African economy. SAM Advanced Journal Management, 2007, 72(2), [11] Sriram, V., & Mersha, T Facilitating entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa: What governments can do? Journal of International Business and Entrepreneurship Development, 3 (1/2),

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