The role of entrepreneurial education in fostering student entrepreneurship.
Nqoko, Nompumelelo Sindiswa.
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Entrepreneurship preparation has been generally recognised as important to leading to economic growth. Graduates may have different qualifications, but they still find themselves without a career. However, graduates are also hesitant to see entrepreneurship as a feasible career choice, even in times of high unemployment. University degrees and qualifications no longer carry the guarantee of availability of jobs for pupils, since hundreds of thousands of graduates cannot afford to do so. After acquiring degrees, graduates rarely consider entrepreneurship as a good and sustainable career option. This research was an exploratory study that adopted a mixed-method research approach for data collection and interpretation. This method allows both quantitative and qualitative data to be obtained in one analysis, it further offers more enhanced insight into the research problem and questions presented. The adoption of a mixed method allows for comparison and corroboration of research findings for a fuller understanding of the research problem. The mixed method was therefore, adopted to gather data from both third-year and postgraduate students in the discipline of management and entrepreneurship. Where self-administered questionnaires were adopted for quantitative which were administered to both third year (undergraduate) and honours students. Qualitative data was collected from postgraduate students to gather information about their entrepreneurial intentions. SPSS version 21 was used to include quantitative data with informative and inferential statistics; and NVivo (version 11) was utilised to analyse qualitative data. There was also a need to apportion the methods equally to each strand of the quantitative and qualitative data. Purposive sampling was utilised to elicit both quantitative and qualitative data from the respondents who were in the best position to engender such information. The sample for this study included the third- and fourth-year students enrolled in the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, in the discipline of Management and Entrepreneurship at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. This included three UKZN campuses, namely, the Westville Campus, and Howard College campus located in Durban, and the UKZN campus located in Pietermaritzburg. The sample for the study was drawn from students who had studied entrepreneurship modules during their programme, and had been exposed to entrepreneurial education for a minimum of a year. The overall enrolment of all students when the study was conducted was 330, composed of 233 third year students and 97 honorary students. The study used Krejcie and Morgan (1970) statistical table, to determine the sample size for quantitative data which was estimated at 180. The total number of questionnaires returned for quantitative was 169. The study achieved a response rate of 93%. 42% of the respondents were male and 58% were female. It was found that 72% of the respondents were pursuing an undergraduate bachelor’s degree, 28% were enrolled in a postgraduate honours degree. From the 169 questionnaires that were returned, twenty students were purposively selected to form a focus group for the qualitative data; however, only fifteen were available to participate in the focus-group discussion. The findings revealed that the university offered entrepreneurship modules as an elective. It is those students in small business management that had high entrepreneurial intentions. Students who took entrepreneurship modules as an elective plan to start their business five years after they complete their studies, and that entrepreneurship will be an option should they not find employment. The results also showed that entrepreneurial education does develop entrepreneurial intentions among the students if the curriculum is well structured. Furthermore, reflect that individuals with high entrepreneurial intentions are fully capable of taking entrepreneurial action. The research further confirmed that individuals with a high entrepreneurial mentality are more likely to have entrepreneurial ambitions and a deep desire to start a business. These studies have shown that entrepreneurial education has had a positive effect on the entrepreneurial attitude of students and their intentions towards entrepreneurship, their employability and their position in society and the economy as a whole. There has been a growing consensus among scholars that allowing students to work in interdisciplinary teams and engage with actual entrepreneurs is an especially effective way to cultivate entrepreneurial ambitions among students. The study highlighted the importance of entrepreneurial education in fostering student entrepreneurship, and also discovered that entrepreneurial intention and entrepreneurial action scores are higher if students are considered to have a need to research entrepreneurship at the university. Hence entrepreneurial education should strictly focus on influencing students' mind-set towards entrepreneurship, as a possible career. Furthermore, entrepreneurial education can make students experience more fulfilling by being explored to both theory and practice. The results of entrepreneurial education are focused on the belief that being an entrepreneur is a deliberately orchestrated action. The relation between expectations, actions and action is used on the basis of the "Theory of Planned Behavior" (TPB). If students' attitudes towards entrepreneurship are favourably affected by entrepreneurship education, their entrepreneurship intentions will or may be improved. Therefore, the present study applied TBP, this theory clearly explains human behaviour using three major variables, perceived behavioural control, attitude and subjective norms.