Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development: The Role of Entrepreneurship Education for Out-of-School Youth

Kolade T. T., Towobola W. L., Oresanya T. O., Ayeni J. O., Omodewu O. S.


Nigeria has one of the poorest sets of national development indices in the world and it is widely believed that the underdevelopment of human capacity is a major factor contributing to Nigeria’s underdevelopment. Demographic segregation of the Nigerian population indicates that youths form the largest segment of the population. Hence, developmental efforts must target and/or capture the youthful population to have tangible and meaningful impact. The term youth empowerment is broadly employed to explain efforts aimed at providing coping skills and an enabling environment for youths to lead decent lives and contribute meaningfully to national development. An emerging trend in youth empowerment in Nigeria is entrepreneurship education. Entrepreneurship education assumed importance against the background of poverty, widespread unemployment and the need to shift the attention of the citizenry away from white collar jobs and government patronage. This study highlights the importance of youth empowerment towards attaining sustainable development of the Nigerian nation. It examines the place of entrepreneurship education in the empowerment of youths, and attempts to identify missing links in the execution of entrepreneurship education initiatives in Nigeria. The researchers segregated the youthful population into two categories; in-school and out-of-school youths. Using literature study and unstructured observation, the researchers appraised the relative spread and intensity of entrepreneurship education initiatives (especially government-facilitated entrepreneurship education) amongst both groups. While entrepreneurship education initiatives targeted at in-school youth are easily noticeable nationwide, the same cannot be said about out-of-school youth. Meanwhile, based on national literacy, school enrolment, and tertiary institution matriculation examination/admission records, it can be inferred that out-of-school youths in Nigeria far outnumber in-school youths. The authors therefore recommend specific and deliberate nationwide efforts to impart entrepreneurial skills to out-of-school youths as a means to empowering them to contribute to sustainable development of the Nigerian nation and society. Such initiatives could have as primary targets, drop-outs from secondary schools, and young people who cannot proceed to higher institutions after their secondary education.

Key Words: Entrepreneurship, in-school youth, out-of-school youth, national development

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