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SMEDAN trains teachers on economic enhancement skills

The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) says entrepreneurship training for school teachers in Nigeria will shift students’ desire from white collar jobs to acquiring entrepreneurial skills for economic enhancement.

The Director General of the Agency, Dikko Radda, made the assertion at three-day capacity building for entrepreneurial teachers under the “Mind Shift Entrepreneurship Programme (MEP) – SMEDAN-School Entrepreneurship Programme (S-SEP)” in  Owerri on Wednesday.

He said the programme was to prepare pupils/students for the 4th Industrial Revolution through the teachers, adding that there was paradigm shift from school to getting a good job to acquiring entrepreneurship skills to start one’s own business.

“The era of brilliant curriculum vitae is over; this is the era of crafting a bankable business plan that will launch the students into being their own bosses.”

Radda said that the agency had been in the forefront of advancing the development and promotion of entrepreneurship and enterprise education in the country.

He said the three-day programme was designed to enhance the capacity of teachers who would inturn prepare the pupils/students and convert them into entrepreneurs.

He said that there had been an anxiety and uncertainty among Nigerian students about their future because of dearth of opportunity in the employment market and lack of entrepreneurial skills to go into new business ventures.

The SMEDAN boss said that given the most promising economic performance within the sub- Saharan Africa, there was no way regular emploment would cope with the size of population influx.

He said that there was the need to support young people with education and training that would promote employment generation and wealth creation.

“It is on this premise that the Mind Shift Entrepreneurship Programme (MEP) was coneived by SMEDAN.

“The MEP is also designed to engage the vibrant energy of our students and youths and channel it into productive venture creation and management of their own businessess.

“Entrepreneurship education is more than preparation on how to run a business. It is about how to develop the entrepreneurial attitudes, skills and knowledge which , in short, should enable a student to turn “ideas into action.”

“Teachers cannot teach how to be entrepreneurial without themselves being entrepreneurial. Entrepreneurial competences require active methods of engaging students to release their creativity and innovation,” he said.

Radda commended the participating teachers from the various schools in the state,  adding that the programme had three components of entrepreneurship training of the teachers, exposure to selected business skills and post training and hands-on support.

He expressed gratitude the the Imo government for the provision of millage and enough space for the development of teachers and advancement of entrepreneurship education in the state.

Radda said that the state government was expected to take ownership of the programme and step it down to all the primary and secondary schools in the state,  adding that the agency was ready to partner with government through the education ministry to ensure its success.

In his presentation on MEP, S-SEP Handbook, Dr Friday Okpara, Head of Policy, Partnership and Coordination in SMEDAN, described entrepreneurship as the ability to identify a gap and fill it.

He said the entrepreneurial teacher must be open minded, confident, flexible and responsible, a team player, good networker, with a passion for teaching and ability to harness and sell ideas to his/her students.

Okpara said that they also seek to close the gap between education and economy including external experts in their teaching while focusing on real-life experiences.

He identified skills required in entrepreneurship to include technical, business management, human, designs, conceptual, communication, leadership, team and time management skills.

Okpara listed the stimulants of entrepreneurship as increasing levels of unemployment, fewer vacancies in choice enterprise, inclusion of entrepreneurship studies in the school curriculum, growing awareness, favourable government policies, job insecurity and conducive economic environment.

According to him, the challenges of entrepreneurship in Nigeria are inadequate research and publication on entrepreneurship development programmes, access to finance, lack of dedicated sites for industrial purposes and poor management skill.

Dr Ifeoma Onyia, Imo State Manager, SMEDAN, said the programme was aimed at educating school teachers who would in turn educate pupils and students and imbibe in them the spirit of entrepreneurship.

She said the move would enable the students not to continue to wait for white collar jobs while out of school, but use skills acquired to become entrepreneurs.

“Entrepreneurship is now a compulsory course in all schools in the country.

The programme was necessitated by the desire for students to find something better doing before the jobs come,” she said.

Mr Kennedy Ezeji, a teacher in Animal Husbandry and Agriculture and one of the participants, described the programme as good and educative and one that came at the right time.

He pledged on behalf of other participants, to carry the message of entrepreneurship to the students in his school.

Ezeji expressed appreciation to the Federal Government and SMEDAN for the programme and urge them to continue in the awareness creation to shift the attention of the youths from always seeking for jobs to engaging in entrepreneurial businesses.


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