User:GabKon/Temp/Entrepreneurship Training in Zambia.doc
In the pre-independence days in Zambia, there were a very small number of businessmen who could be called entrepreneurs. By the time of independence, Zambia did not have businessmen and women who were experienced in handling complex businesses. African businesses only started to grow when a cash economy became the standard for business transactions. Zambia gained its independence with a less than well-developed African bourgeoisie, ill-equipped to administer the economy (Chipungu, 1992:174-175). Entrepreneurship in Zambia has arisen due to a number of factors. Some have started enterprises due to retrenchments as a consequence of privatisation of parastatal firms between 1992 and 1999 (Konayuma, 2006: 29). Others have become entrepreneurs to supplement their incomes in order to meet family budget needs. A number of government ministries have policies that support entrepreneurship development. These include the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Policy, the Youth Policy, the Commercial, Trade and Industrial Policy and the Labour and Social Security Policy.
Entrepreneurship training is a relatively new concept. Some people believe that entrepreneurs are born and that it people cannot be taught to become entrepreneurs. Many entrepreneurs would argue that to a certain extent this may be true, but many skills, which are needed for success, can most definitely be learned. Some entrepreneurs may wish that they had been given the opportunity! Entrepreneurship training is useful in proving tomorrow's employers the training they need to create new business prospects. Over the past decade entrepreneurship has been taught as a stand-alone subject in TEVET institutions in Zambia. However, the Technical Training, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) recently organised workshops where trainers from TEVET institutions were trained in integrating entrepreneurship into various training programmes (Konayuma, 2006:6).
Entrepreneurship training has generally been absent from the primary, secondary and university training. At universities, it is offered mostly to students that are doing business studies. Thus entrepreneurship is not viewed as a tool that can be used to develop innovative and creative skills in students that can lead them to become entrepreneurs. In TEVET sector though, entrepreneurship has been taught for the past fifteen years as a stand-alone subject and more recently it has been integrated into the various curricula. Is entrepreneurship training as it is taught in the TEVET sector relevant in Zambia’s economy which is market -driven? It is important at this stage to consider a working definition of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is the process whereby an individual or a group of individuals uses organised efforts and means to pursue opportunities to create value and growth by fulfilling wants and needs through innovation and uniqueness, no matter what resources are currently controlled (Robbins and Coulter, 2004:43).
Some of the major challenges to entrepreneurship training include:
Inadequate Entrepreneurship Trainers: TEVETA has made efforts to address the issue of inadequate trainers in entrepreneurship. This has been by organising training of trainers workshops at which experts in entrepreneurship have taken participants through aspects of entrepreneurship training and integration of entrepreneurship into the training programmes. Some institutions have applied the lessons learnt into their institutions while others have not yet begun to integrate entrepreneurship training in their programmes. At a consultative forum held for institutions under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training, it was noted that a number of them were still struggling to implement the guidelines on entrepreneurship training in the TEVET Policy and TEVET Policy Strategy Paper.
Lack of Appropriate Training Materials: Though some training providers have made efforts to develop training materials, there still remains need for learning materials to be developed that are based on the TEVETA approved curriculum. Some institutions have bought Entrepreneurship textbooks that TEVETA offered for sale. Currently TEVETA has advertised for consultants to develop learning materials for trainees in TEVET. It is hoped that these materials will best suit the needs of trainees and enable them gain a better understanding of the entrepreneurial competencies in the curricula.
Lack of Appreciation of Entrepreneurship Training: A number of trainees undertake vocational training with the belief that they will get employed after graduation. Not many see themselves becoming self-employed immediately after graduation. Some do not see the benefits of entrepreneurship training. This is also extended to trainers who feel that trainees only need technical skills and not entrepreneurship training. In addition, it is not easy for trainers who are not entrepreneurial to appreciate entrepreneurship training. The same applies for training providers that are not entrepreneurial. They would not be appropriate role models for the trainees (Konayuma, 2006:8).
Poor Entrepreneurial Culture
Building an ‘Entrepreneurial culture’ to promote the right kind of entrepreneurship in our Zambia and Africa as a whole calls for good strategies. Entrepreneurs like any other set of people thrive most where they are recognized most. The entrepreneurial culture in Zambia is still growing. This could be attributed to business practices among Zambians before independence. In the pre-independence days in Zambia, there were a very small number of businessmen who could be called entrepreneurs. By the time of independence, Zambia did not have businessmen and women who were experienced in handling complex businesses. African businesses only started to grow when a cash economy became the standard for business transactions. Zambia gained its independence with a less than well-developed African bourgeoisie, ill-equipped to administer the economy (Chipungu, 1992:174-175).