The need to re-jig business education growth and development in Nigeria to enhance the employability and creativity of Nigerian graduates formed the crux of the 32rd Annual National Conference of the Association of Business Educators of Nigeria (ABEN).
With the theme, ‘Organising and Managing Business Education in Nigeria’, the two-day event which was held over the weekend in Awka, Anambra state capital, attracted business education scholars, students and other notable academics across the country.
Speaking during the conference, the Keynote Speaker and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), University of Uyo, Prof. Enoidem Usoro, noted that it had become imperative to reassess the efficacy of business education programme, given the trend where most graduates fail to acquire the needed skills upon graduation.
He harped on the need for business educators to rethink and chart a new course for business education programme in Nigeria by employing emerging methods of delivery via a virtual environment for better skill acquisition and development.
“We need to reappraise what business education in Nigeria is to ensure that business educators and graduates remain competitive, as well as to cope with challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“There is lack of instructional equipment and laboratory tools resulting in many graduates of business education roaming the street with their certificates looking for white-collar job for obvious failure to acquire sufficient entrepreneurial skills to establish businesses of their own,” he observed.
Usoro said the government needs to urgently address the infrastructural decay in business education programme, as well as harmonize the curriculum structure of the programme in universities, expressing optimism that the conference would do justice in addressing the issues and offer realistic solutions.
In a Lead Paper Presentation, Prof. Christian Oduma, from Ebonyi State University, Abakiliki, called for a review of the business education programme to meet with the challenges and realities on ground, noting that there can never be any effective teacher without a good curriculum.
In an address, Prof. Chika Madu Ile, ABEN national president, said the annual conference was aimed at providing desirable platforms for experts to converge and rub minds on critical issues bothering on business education curriculum and practices, business and entrepreneurship skills with view to proffering solutions.
According to him, the issues are ignited by changes in technology, the environment, the workplace, work demands, and the dynamism of the society.
The ABEN national president while commenting on the theme of the conference, said, “business education programme needs to be properly organized and managed so that it can fulfill its mandate of ensuring that students are properly guided through carefully planned experiences that will offer them the opportunity to master knowledge, skills and attitudes needed not only to succeed in business but also have equal opportunity to succeed in life”.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Charles Esimone who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Frederick Odibo, disclosed that his administration was already building an edifice structure for the vocational education in the university while reassuring his unflinching support to ABEN.
In a vote of thanks, the chairperson of the local organising committee (LOC), Prof. Comfort Okolocha, urged participants to use the opportunity of the conference to develop framework for efficient content delivery, as well to enrol in self-developmental courses.
This, she said, would help make the business educators better equipped to impact life-long skills.