Responsible management education in Nigeria
Entrepreneurship is a buzzword in Nigeria, many people especially the youths are involved in different forms of business activities. The government through many of its programs, target the Nigerian youths to promote entrepreneurship.
In some universities, students are expected to take an entrepreneurship course before graduation, irrespective of their course of study.
Entrepreneurship education is becoming a popular course in Nigeria, due to its ability to link practice with theory.
However, irresponsible entrepreneurship has a negative impact on businesses, investors, and the society.
Responsible management education extends beyond ethics and corporate social responsibility.
I mentioned entrepreneurship at this point because, it is an aspect of management education relevant to the theme of this site.
The discussion is about every aspect of management education and not limited to just entrepreneurship education.
This article looks at why business schools and faculties of management in Nigerian universities need to incorporate the universal values of responsible management education into their curricula and research.
The Principles for Responsible Management Education in Nigeria
The Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) is a framework of six principles supported by the United Nations Global Compact.
The six principles are shown below:
The main idea is to ensure that business schools curricula and research (in all management-related disciplines), help future leaders to develop new skills and knowledge, needed to balance economic and sustainable goals.
Currently, only three Nigerian business schools are signatories to the Principles for Responsible Management Education. The business schools are:
- Lagos Business School
- Onitsha Business School
- Horizon Business School
By being signatories, these schools are committed to ensuring that their education and research will embed new contents, and transformative learning approaches that would address pressing global issues.
The need for responsible management education in Nigeria
The belief that business is about the people is the bedrock of many companies. Businesses are key stakeholders in overcoming issues bordering poverty, ethics, social responsibility, illiteracy, globalisation, and climate change etc.
Although, the society as whole has a role to play in meeting these global challenges, businesses and management education have a critical role to play.
As businesses are discovering the importance of taking proactive interests in global concerns, business schools are saddled with the responsibility of equipping future leaders with the skills and competencies, needed to deal with these global issues.
Employers are interested in skilled and competent workforce, with relevant skills needed to address the issues that businesses and other institutions are facing in the 21st century.
Therefore, it shouldn’t be “business as usual” in business schools.
Management education should be at the forefront of sustainable development through:
- Teaching and learning
- Research and development
- Engaged scholarship – community engagement
Responsible management education in Nigeria – meeting Gen Zs expectations
The highest population of students currently being taught in Nigerian universities, are youths between the ages of 16-25 years.
These are the Gen Z generation, popularly known as the “soro-soke generation” in Nigeria. Along with the millennials, many of these young people are known to be sustainability oriented, and they take a values-driven approach to their careers and job prospects.
They are also known:
- to be outspoken.
- to value work-life balance and mental health.
- to value collaboration than competition.
- prefer workplace flexibility
- as the real digital natives – they didn’t experience life without technology.
Research has shown that, many of these youth population are concerned about hunger, healthcare and income inequality worldwide.
As a result, management education in Nigeria would be doing them a disservice, if they are provided an education that does not meet their expectations and needs.
Most especially, since their age group accounts for the highest population of students currently in higher education, where business schools and management faculties tend to have the highest number of enrolments.
Responsible management education in Nigeria – opportunities for business schools and management faculties
Business schools and management faculties in Nigerian universities have the following opportunities:
- To engage with stakeholders such as local businesses, organisations and entrepreneurs, to develop knowledge partnerships that will enhance what is taught in classrooms.
- To map current curriculum with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- To help students acquire skills and knowledge in real-life situations in their communities, and making it relevant to their curriculum.
- To develop locally relevant research themes around SDG issues/sustainability, which could have tangible solutions locally.
The challenges business schools and management faculties in Nigeria could face include:
- Staff may need to learn new competencies.
- Curriculum revisions and updates would be needed.
- Introduction of new courses.
- The need to develop collaborations with knowledge partners and other stakeholders.
Management education is critical to equipping future business owners and managers, with the set of skills and knowledge needed to deal with upcoming challenges, and to contribute to societal transformation through responsible business practices.