RE-ORGANIZING BUSINESS EDUCATION FOR CONTEMPORARY DEVELOPMENT IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS IN NIGERIA
JULIUS MICHAEL OGHENENYOREME
Department of vocational and Technology Education,
Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State
From the very beginning, business education has been well conceived and various attempts have been made towards effective implementation of the programme. Despite the above, the level of availability of resources, government policies, teacher quality, evolution of new media, curriculum structure amongst others have greatly affected the effectiveness of the programme. Consequent upon the above, this paper on re-organizing business education for contemporary development in tertiary institutions in Nigeria looked into business in business education, instructional techniques/pedagogy, technology in business education, curriculum structure and business education as a department of its own. It was concluded however, that to make business education reflect current issues, a re-organization is needed to refocus the programme to the extent that graduates are self reliance in line with the aspirations of the founding fathers of the programme. It was therefore, suggested amongst others that business education will be better off if courses that actually engage students in business are established. Therefore, all business education programmes should entail aspects that deal directly in business. This will enable graduates actually represent the crusade for self reliance.
Keywords: Organizing, Business Education, Contemporary Development
In virtually all business endeavours, managements strive exceedingly to strategize in various approaches that place their operations ahead of competitors. In other instances, the tendency of management at various levels to strategize is not directly in response to competition alone but also to ensure that operations are well managed and marketed to ensure increase in sales volume and patronage. In business education however, the need to reorganize the programme to ensure that outputs are in tandem with labour operations has become very primary.
Reorganizing business education entails going back to the drawing board to re-plan, considering modern changes in the planning process to ensure that modern technologies, methodology, approaches, models, theories, assertions and postulates are embedded in the teaching and learning of business education in contemporary society. Accordingly, this paper focuses on the reorganization of business education programme for the sole purpose of ensuring that the programme reflects current trends and practices in the teaching and learning process. Nevertheless, the concept of business education is properly elucidated before further issues were laid bare.
Conceptualizing Business Education
Over the years, business has often proved to be the cornerstone for economic and societal growth. Notwithstanding, the needed credence has never been given to the teaching and learning of business in contemporary academic institutions. The universities have been overwhelmingly immersed in this non-inclusivity of business education in curriculums. However, as time goes on, universities’ administrators begin to underpin the imperative for business in academics, thus, entrepreneurship studies was born. Nevertheless, as a singular course, entrepreneurship was not really enough as it failed to cover all the business needs of learners – hence, business education became a better choice as it would cater for more aspects of business needs in universities. As noted by Atueyi and Okolo (2005), business education took off on a very slippery ground, as there was no generally accepted definition for it on its take off. This brought about different definitions from different authors.
Definition of Business Education
With differences in geographical locations, societal needs and authorship; the perceptions, definitions and postulates about business education begin to gain variations. Nevertheless, major business education frontiers like Osuala, Ademola among other meaningful contributors gave valid and evergreen definition that tend to drive home the major tenets of business education. For Osuala (2009), business education which is an academic programme offered in universities and other tertiary institutions is designed to provide learning for skill acquisition among students who could apply such skills in their occupation, managing personal business, personal living in the society and for nation building. Its components are therefore a union of general education and business components. On the other hand, Ademola (2005) maintained that Business Education emphasized acquisition of skills and application of business laws to solve business problems and provide services; it has the potential to make people self-reliant. The two major concerns mentioned in Osuala and Ademola above are “skills” and “self-reliance”. These are the cornerstone of business education programme in any setting.
Contemporary Development in Business Education Programmes
The need for reorganizing business education arises from new media innovations that have emerged over the last few decades and their inclusivity in business education have changed approaches, methods, techniques and pattern of interaction between teachers and learners. With these changes, the traditional classroom setting of talking and listening could no longer hold, rather, a more aggressive, flexible and responsive approach needed to be adopted; a system that can truly accommodate modern classroom innovations. These innovations include but not limited to interactive whiteboards, projectors, use of apps, smartphones, audio-visual aids, new theories and models in business education amongst others. When these platforms are included in business education without a corresponding policy to handle possible lack of awareness and utility by business educators, it may breed misuse. Take for instance, in most business education classes where interactive white boards have been introduced, business educators don’t really use them. Rather, they are gleaned to the marker white board that they have been used to. These are very important issues to look at when a discuss of reorganization of business education is ongoing.
Re-organization of Business Education
Business in Business Education
From the beginning, especially in many institutions, business education has been largely taught without the inclusion of business itself. At most times, one begins to wonder, where is the business that qualifies the name “business education?” That spice that gives business education the coloration of a business programme has been truly amiss. The fact is that marketing, management, secretarial studies and accounting – the major components of business education does not really tackle the problem of business startup hence, when business education graduates come out of the university, they are still at a loss as to how to start their businesses except for those who already have a business before contact with business education. A programme option such as “business conceptualization and development” could have solved the problem. Reorganizing business education in contemporary Nigeria would mean that operations that truly give business education the spice and coloration of a business programme must be initiated.
Teacher pedagogy is very key in the implementation of any programme in academics. In the truest sense of things, teacher pedagogy determines the success of any programme. It is just like a conversation – an information which an individual may pass that may result to anger can be passed by another person and will be better understood for action. Same scenario plays out in implementation of business education programmes. When teacher pedagogy is ill-planned, the end product is always catastrophic. Therefore, teachers must utilize instructional materials and techniques that best convey business education concepts. Take for instance, in the teaching and learning of business education, when teaching contents like Facebook advertising in marketing, educators needs visual display to graphically teach learners how to advertise their products on Facebook as this is one of the latest trend in internet advertising. Unfortunately, most of these concepts are merely mentioned in the classroom and they constitute a major challenge to business education graduates.
Technology in Business Education
Currently, there is hardly any human endeavour in which technology does not have a role to play. In business education however, the role of technology comes to play in the use of computers, internet, smartphones, apps, printers, websites, etc. in the administration, teaching and learning of the programme. Technology is the new trend to beckon with and its utilization have greatly influenced how academic programmes are implemented. Consequently, the availability and utilization of technology in business education will see business educators utilizing projectors in classroom work, with secretarial students adequately mastering the act of computing flawlessly and marketing education students engaging in modern marketing techniques that give them edge over traditional marketers.
Various studies on effect of curriculum structure on academic performance had often turned out to be either positive or negative. Demir, Kilinc and Dogan (2012) found that effective curriculum development can aid students to acquire efficient studying skills which makes them competitive with students in other parts of the world. For Lyndon, Henning, Alyami, Krishna, Yu, and Hill (2017), there is a significant main effect for revised curriculum with respect to both physical and environmental quality and life. The above indicated that curriculum structure can determine the overall quality of a programme. Accordingly, business education administrators should realign the programme to reflect realities of the contemporary world. For example, the curriculum must aid learners conceive, startup, run and sustain a business in the universities. This business is what can be referred to as a prototype of what they will ultimately do after graduation.
As a department of its Own
In many universities, business education is a programme under a department and not a department of its own. This hinders effective administration and smooth running of the programme in many institutions of higher learning in Nigeria. Consequently, an attempt must be made to make business education an independent department in all universities in Nigeria.
To make business education reflect current issues, a reorganization is needed to refocus the programme to the extent that graduates are self reliant in line with the aspirations of the founding fathers of the programme and the Nigerian government. To achieve this, both the government, business educators, students and other well meaning stakeholders must come together and plan the way forward collaboratively. In addition, industry stakeholders must be present to outline what it requires of graduates since there has been a huge disparity between what the university call graduates and what the employers of labour really needs.
The following are therefore, suggested for the improvement of business education in Nigeria.
- Business education will be better off if courses that actually engage students in business are established. Therefore, all business education programmes should entail aspects that deal directly in business. This will enable graduate actually represent the crusade for self reliance.
- A business educator without a well conceived and implemented pedagogy cannot effectively teach business education courses. Hence, there is need for teacher retraining through seminars and conferences to ensure that a better pedagogy is implemented by all teachers.
- Business education should avail itself to new technologies that have crept into the academic spheres. Such embrace will bring in better approach in the teaching and learning of business education.
- As a matter of policy, the business education curriculum should be reviewed every five years. This is because systems are become very dynamic and practices once in vogue easily become outdated. Consequently, all such noticeable aspects should be reviewed.
- Educators over the years have decried the placement of business education as a sub-programme under various departments. It is believed that making business education a department of its own will ensure a better administration of the programme.
Ademola, R. (2005). Organizing business education. Port Harcourt: Pre-Joe Publishers
Atueyi, I. & Okolo, D. (2005). The role of business education in doubting economy. A Business Education Journal, 1(9), 2-4.
Osuala, E. C. (2009). In National Open University (2014). Principles of Business Education. Retrieved from http://www.nou.edu.ng/ noun_ocl/pdf/bed%201 13.pdf
Demir, S., Kilinc, M. & Dogan, A. (2012). The effect of curriculum for developing efficient studying skills on academic achievements and studying skills of learners. International Electronic Journal of Elementary education, 4(3), 427-440.
Lyndon, M. P., Henning, M. A., Alyami, H., Krishna, S., Yu, T. & Hill, A. G. (2017). The impact of a revised curriculum on academic motivation, burnout and quality of life among medical students. Journal of Medical Education Curriculum Development, 4, http://www.ncbi.nim.gov/pmc/article.html