The Government of the Republic of Kenya (2005) recognizes the strategic importance of improving the overall education level of Kenyans within the context of poverty reduction and economic growth. According to the Government of the Republic of Kenya (2011) science, technology and innovation sector seeks to achieve key objectives of enhanced access, equity relevance and quality of outcomes in higher education, science, technology and innovation. One of the problems facing the Kenyan economy is unemployment. This is due to low economic growth, corruption, nepotism and the negative attitude towards entrepreneurship. Approximately 503,500 graduates from a pool of 1,374,360 graduates enter the job market annually. More than 870,860 graduates remain unemployed because of the weak economic performance and the public sector reforms, which have adversely affected employment in Kenya. This study has been prepared within the framework of entrepreneurship education as a strategic approach to economic growth in Kenya (Nelson & Johnson, 1997).
One approach to enhancing entrepreneurial activity and enterprise growth in Kenya is to create an enterprise culture among the youth (Nelson & Mburugu,1991). This is important because by focusing on youth while they are still in school, this approach may provide a long – term solution to the problem of job creation in Kenya. To achieve a wide spread enterprise culture in the long run; entrepreneurship education, training, research and development programme in Kenya must integrate self – employment and entrepreneurship into the curriculum at all levels of learning. There has been an increased interest in entrepreneurship within the education system and the society in general with an increase in courses, incubators and other activities oriented to promote the topic of entrepreneurship.
This phenomenon takes place in both public and private universities, technical training institutes, institutes of technology, national polytechnics and youth polytechnics. There was therefore need to examine entrepreneurship education programme in Kenya to assess its effectiveness in providing a long – term solution to the problem of job creation in Kenya. The questions addressed are: How relevant is the entrepreneurship education programme used on employment creation? Are we building capacity in entrepreneurship? What is the place of entrepreneurship in science, technology and innovation?
The study is hinged on the objective – oriented evaluation model that best fits the specific needs of entrepreneurship education programme in Kenya. The idea of achieving a wide spread enterprise culture in the long run, is supported by the Presidential Working Party on Education and Manpower Training for the Next Decade and Beyond (1988). The document recommended that entrepreneurship training be taught in all technical training institutions. This study provides a systematic assessment (Weiss, 1998) of the operation and /or of the outcomes of entrepreneurship education programme compared to a set of explicit and implicit standards as a means of contributing to the improvement of the programme in Kenya. The study concludes with a description of an educational change initiative that is supporting the creation of an enterprise culture through entrepreneurship education.
Literature Review Contd.
The first formal entrepreneurship education programme was developed in Kenya in the early 1990s (Bwisa, 2011). Since then entrepreneurship education, has been a fast growing area in the country. Its growth is particularly speedy at the tertiary level of education. One of the key factors explaining this phenomenon is the fact that wage employment, particularly in the public sector is no longer a guarantee. There is a belief that entrepreneurship education can assist learners develop and pursue entrepreneurial careers which may help them become successful self – employed citizens. Entrepreneurship education may also be called citizenship education because it provides learners with the skills to take action and make changes which will improve the environment within their community. Manu, Nelson and Thiongo (2002) have argued that if entrepreneurship development is to have a single purpose, it could well be expressed as improvement in the quality of life or, put another way, the provision of life skills.
This study used extant literature reviews and actual observations. Data was collected from public records, the media as well as education through experience in the field. Case study, content analysis and historical study were used to analyze data. The study analyzed information in a systematic way in order to come to some useful conclusions and recommendations. The study obtained detailed information about entrepreneurship education programme in Kenya and then tried to examine patterns, trends and relationships.
The study established four main findings on entrepreneurship education programme in Kenya. First, despite the growth of entrepreneurship education programme, many remain largely tradition – bound. Many institutions’ entrepreneurship curricula are incomplete in course content matter. Second, institutions seem to have proceeded on the assumption that entrepreneurs are born, not made. Entrepreneurship education and training is provided by assuming that students have pre – existing entrepreneurship characteristics and attitudes. Third, institutions seem to have confused small business management with entrepreneurship. Finally, institutions use non – entrepreneurship instructors in non – entrepreneurship settings to teach entrepreneurship.
Based on the fore mentioned findings, the goals and objectives of entrepreneurship education programme cannot be sufficiently achieved in Kenya. Entrepreneurship education will continue to be viewed as another cup of tea. Yet, entrepreneurship is a major source of employment, economic growth, innovation, promoting product and service quality, competition, and economic flexibility. The supply of potential entrepreneurs is limited in Kenya because entrepreneurship is rarely portrayed in favourable light. The Kenyan scene reveals that the typical students’ attitude towards self – employment has long been negative.
Entrepreneurship is at the centre of technological research, scientific exploration, product creation and market transitions. Thus, entrepreneurship education programme need to be accorded the necessary attention and support by all the institutions for immediate improvement in its overall performance in Kenya. There is need to build capacity in entrepreneurship education at all levels of education, training, research and development in Kenya. At each level of the education, it is reasonable to expect different outcomes as students mature and build on previous knowledge. But the overall purpose remains to develop expertise as an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship education programme should be a lifelong learning process. This is embraced by the America Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education that entrepreneurship education is a lifelong learning process that has at least five stages of development. That is: stage one, covering primary and secondary schools and focusing on basics of entrepreneurship education; stage two, covering vocational schools and focusing on competency awareness; stage three, covering tertiary colleges and focusing on creative applications; stage four, covering college and university and focusing on start – up; and stage five, covering university and focusing on growth. What is needed is a knowledge, skills and abilities analysis of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs need to be multi – skilled for the purpose of creating technical capabilities, technical functions, social insights and customer value. Kenya still needs more entrepreneurship education graduates for the realization of Vision 2030.
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- Government of the Republic of Kenya (1988). Presidential Working Party on Education and Manpower Training for the Next Decade and Beyond. Nairobi: Government Printer.
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