Effectiveness of entrepreneurship education in a turbulent economy: the perceptions of entrepreneurship graduates in Zimbabwe.
The effectiveness of entrepreneurship education may be enhanced if graduates’ views on the issue are made known. Ever since Zimbabwean universities started offering entrepreneurship as a discipline, graduates’ views on the effectiveness of the programme have not been explored. Empirical evidence shows that there is a positive correlation between entrepreneurship education and economic development. Contrary to the above, however, the Zimbabwean situation has negative pointers. Eentrepreneurship education is regarded as a poverty alleviation strategy the world over; yet, regardless of the large numbers of Zimbabwean entrepreneurship graduates qualifying for the industry every year, the economy does not seem to recover. This necessitated a study into the effectiveness of entrepreneurship education in a turbulent economy from the entrepreneurship graduates’ perspective. The focus was to assess the extent of entrepreneurship education in Zimbabwean universities, graduates’ perceptions on the effectiveness of training methods used in entrepreneurship education, the influence of experiential learning on entrepreneurship education as well as the influence of entrepreneurship education on venture creation and creativity. The positivist philosophy together with the descriptive design and quantitative approach were used in this study. The cluster sampling method was used to select 223 participants out of a target population of 526 Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) entrepreneurship graduates of 2012-2016. Questionnaires were used to gather data which was analysed using SPSS version 22. The findings revealed that entrepreneurship education was being offered from primary school to tertiary level in Zimbabwe. Furthermore, the findings revealed that the Zimbabwean entrepreneurship teaching methods were not effectively promoting entrepreneurs. Experiential learning and other more practical approaches were seen as appropriate for entrepreneurship training. Graduates believed that entrepreneurship education has a positive influence on venture creation and creativity. It was recommended that entrepreneurship education should be reinforced across all the learning levels (primary school up to tertiary) and a clear demarcation to be made at each level. A comprehensive overhaul of entrepreneurship teaching methods and approaches used to cater for experiential learning were recommended. Further recommendations were the involvement of stakeholders in the formulation and implementation of policies facilitating venture creation and creativity, commercialisation and industrialisation of products and services.
Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.