One of the goals of NCE business education programme is the acquisition of both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to be self- reliant and useful members of the society. In spite of available business opportunities, and conducive environment for businesses to thrive in Cross River state, Business Education graduates are yet to maximize these opportunities, by using their creative abilities in establishing jobs for themselves and others instead, the business graduates go about the streets in search of jobs which are either few in supply or not available leading to high rate of unemployment, which has led to frustration and low self-esteem, and other negative vices amongst NCE graduates. It was on this note the study was conducted to determine the self-employment skills possessed by business education students of Colleges of Education for sustainable development in Cross River State. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design and was conducted in Federal College of Education Obudu and College of Education Akamkpa, Cross River State. The population for the study was 745 made up of: 425 NCE final year students of Business Education from Federal College of Education Obudu, and 320 NCE final year students of Business Education from College of Education Akamkpa. The sample of the study was 384 made up of 206 and 178 respondents from the Federal College of Education Obudu and College of Education Akamkpa respectively. A structured questionnaire containing 63 items was used to elicit responses from respondents and generate data for the study. The instrument was face-validated by three experts in the Department of Vocational Education was used to collect data from the respondents. The study made use of Cronbach Alpha reliability method Sto determine the internal consistency of the instrument. The data collected for the study was analyzed using mean to answer the research questions and standard deviation to determine the closeness or otherwise of the responses from the mean, while t -test statistic was used to test the null hypothesis of no significant difference at the probability of 0.05 level of significance at relevant degree of freedom with the use of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Findings from the analysis showed that business education students of Colleges of Education in Cross River State slightly possess creative skills, information and communication skills, marketing skills and accounting skills for self employment and sustainable development. Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended amongst others that Business education students should be mandated to develop a viable business plan before graduation as this would bring out their creative abilities in creating jobs for themselves in particular and the nation at large.
Background of the Study
Business Education is an educational programme that prepares students for entry and advancement in jobs within business and to handle their business affairs as well as to function intelligently as consumers and citizens in a business economy. Osuala (2004) defined business education as that aspect of vocational education, which emphasizes job competency, career preparation and work adjustments. It involves acquisition of special skills in business subject areas. Njoku (2006) defined business education as an educational programme that equips individuals with functional and sustainable skills, knowledge, attitude and value that would enable the individuals operate in the environment such individuals find themselves. Business education programme is offered at various levels of tertiary education: Universities, Polytechnics, and Colleges of Education.
College of Education according to the Nigerian Academy of Management Administration (2014) is an educational programme created to prepare individuals to be leaders and practitioners in education and related human service fields by expanding and deepening understanding of education as a fundamental human endeavour in helping society define and respond to its educational responsibilities and challenges. At this level of education, the programme prepares the individual for a career in teaching, employment in industries, civil service and business establishment as well as self-employment (Ubong & Wokocha, 2009). There are two Colleges of Education in Cross River State: Federal College of Education Obudu, located at the urban area of the State, has a better and conducive environment and opportunities for entrepreneurship to thrive unlike the College of Education Akamkpa, which is located at the rural area of the State, which is characterized by lack of market and infrastructural facilities for businesses to flourish. However, both Colleges run a Business Education programme, which lead to the award of Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) after three years of full-time postsecondary study.
The Business Education programme is very relevant in Cross River State, which is tagged a “Civil Service State” due to few companies, industries and businesses that employ the youths, thus, the burden of employment in the State lies mainly on Government. The lack of employment generating agencies has led to high rate of unemployment in the State since the government alone cannot absorb all the graduates, including NCE graduates. Evidence of unemployment and under-employment in the State remain at high level. According to State Planning Commission (2012), the unemployment rate of the youths in 2009, 2010 and 2011 were 32.9%, 35.3% and 35.9% respectively. The records also show that over 40% of the unemployed persons in Cross River State had Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) inclusive of business education graduates. From the above report, it therefore, means that the business education NCE student, who in this study is referred as the final year business education students, go about in search of jobs that do not exist, thus, increasing the rate of unemployment in the State. The implication of the above statistics is that Business Education programme, which aimed at graduating knowledgeable, skilled, and competent individuals that can be self employed and also create jobs in the society, thereby reducing the unemployment situation in the State is not meeting up with her objectives.