Journal of Entrepreneurship Education (Print ISSN: 1098-8394; Online ISSN: 1528-2651)

Research Article: 2020 Vol: 23 Issue: 2S

Entrepreneurship Education's Curriculum Delivery at Two South African Universities: Students' Perspective

EM Rankhumise, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa

ME Letsoalo, University of Limpopo, South Africa

B Nguza-Mduba, Walter Sisulu University, South Africa

Citation Information: Rankhumise, E.M., Letsoalo, M.E., & Nguza-Mduba, B. (2020). Entrepreneurship education’s curriculum delivery at two South African universities: Students’ perspective. Journal of Entrepreneurship Education, 23(S2).

Abstract

This comparative explanatory cross-sectional quantitative study evaluated students’ perspectives of delivery of entrepreneurship curriculum. It used secondary data that comprised of 484 (205[42.36%] Walter Sisulu University and 279[57.64%] Tshwane University of Technology) students. The study reported that the interquartile ranges for Walter Sisulu University were shorter than those of the Tshwane University of Technology. It also reported that while the students’ perceptions of delivery of curriculum content are similar there were some significant differences observed concerning how students perceived the competencies of lecturers, and the Tshwane University of Technology students than their Walter Sisulu University counterparts believed the course content was relevant to what needed to be done in a real business situation, that the course content developed entrepreneurial knowledge and skills, that the course provided them with a new and different experience in understanding how to run a business, and that the course had provided an opportunity to learn business activities practically. This paper recommends that entrepreneurship should be a compulsory course at the undergraduate level to boost students’ entrepreneurial acumen and propel economic growth.

Keywords

Content Delivery, Curriculum, Entrepreneurship Education, Student Perspective.

Introduction

Over the years, the field of entrepreneurship education (EE) has become one of the fast-growing and strongest economic forces that the world has experienced. As a result of its effect on instilling the intention to pursue business start-ups, universities have introduced EE as a career option for students. Siddiqui & Alaraifi (2019) highlighted that the history of EE came a long way and has started as Small Business Management in 1927 at the University of Michigan. Entrepreneurship or the process of initiating and starting a new enterprise presents challenges due to the need to make decisions in addressing a range of aspects in business management situation compounded with uncertainties and risk-taking. As a result of these challenges, EE is regarded as a solution towards stimulation of the success relating to start-ups.

EE system should have the ability to create self-efficacy among students which relate to the personal belief in skills and abilities to initiate a task and take it to the next level (Pihie & Akmaliah, 2009). Further, Rankhumise (2014) posits that self-efficacy, as a motivational construct, may influence the individual choices that have been developed through some training interventions that include EE.

For university graduates, the Baby-Boom generation’s ability to mainly rely on governments and conglomerates companies to provide attractive career opportunities and prosperity is over and is no longer available (Warhuus & Basaiawmoit, 2014). All university students and graduates worldwide, who aim to start their work in the real world, face two career options to pursue; viz working for themselves (self-employment) and working for other people (employed by other organizations). This is the real challenge facing students at tertiary institutions (such as a university) and graduates. In this instance, it becomes imperative for the students to think ahead as to what they intend to pursue after their tenure at institutions of higher learning.

Entrepreneurship as a career choice is considered an important determinant of the fast-economic growth, job creation as well as positive social development in the community. Taking into account the significance of economic and technological outcomes, there has been a growing realization of the importance of entrepreneurial universities to society (Mustafa et al., 2016). Ordinarily, universities serve as the first point of contact when considering the entrepreneurial traits and inclinations among university students (Fayolle & Linan, 2014). Notably, the major route by which academic institutions can raise students’ entrepreneurial awareness is through EE. EE refers to “any pedagogical or process of education for entrepreneurial attitudes and skills” (Fayolle et al., 2006). Molaei et al., (2014) argue that one of the main objectives of EE programmes is to create and reinforce entrepreneurial intention (EI) among potential entrepreneurs more especially students. The universities have taken a stand in fostering an entrepreneurial spirit among university students and graduates. Fundamentally, this has resulted in university students’ entrepreneurial assessment as part of a research agenda by universities. In pursuing this endeavor, it becomes imperative for the academic institutions to create a supportive environment, which would ensure a successful EE. It is, however, a well-known fact that EE programmes or interventions represent one of the most efficient ways of providing individuals with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes in seeking an entrepreneurial career.

Mustafa et al., (2016) argue that besides educational support, academic institutions can further support the EIs of students by way of creating an environment conducive for entrepreneurship. EE enhances the entrepreneurial efficacy of the students using business-related activities (Rankhumise, 2014). In the quest to achieve this important aspect, universities should be able to create entrepreneurial interventions that are contextually appropriate, practically oriented and have the propensity to strengthen the students’ desirability of entrepreneurship.

Worldwide, universities inculcate the culture of entrepreneurial orientation in their respective environments intending to create an entrepreneurial self-efficacy for students and graduates to start the businesses. Universities have taken tireless efforts to embrace EE to create building blocks to provide educational support to students. This is one way of learning more about business idea identification, venture creation and how the business venture should be managed.

There is an increasing offering of EE by many universities with a clear insight on how they contribute to economic growth and job opportunities. Accordingly, education plays a critical role in the development of enterprising citizens, by identifying and triggering vocations in individuals, fostering entrepreneurial mind-set, skills and EIs (Do Paco et al., 2015). Based on this notion, it is apparent that entrepreneurship plays a key role in orienting and nurturing future entrepreneurs (Dutta et al., 2011). This could assist students by providing them with an array of knowledge, skills, and aptitude that would enable them to launch and operate new business ventures. There are, however, an increasing number of students who are taking EE, but the ability to enhance entrepreneurship value with traditional teaching methods remains unclear and calls for debate on this specific practice (Nian et al., 2014).

Based on the background provided, it becomes critical to determine the effectiveness of EE programmes and support towards the university students. Although many scholars believe that entrepreneurship can be taught and learned, however, its effectiveness remains bleak. Nian, et al., (2014) attest that teaching methodology for EE and the learning style of students are imperative to determine the effectiveness of EE. Scholars remain steadfast that not all students follow one teaching methodology, instead, different students have their ways of learning, and the educators or lecturers should essentially take this sentiment into account when teaching (or delivering content). Notably, the success of learning methods differs from student to student and as such, the result of one teaching methodology or strategy would always differ among students.

From the perspective of a potential entrepreneur like a university student, entrepreneurship begins with an idea. Molaei et al., (2014) and Alberti et al., (2004) attest that the entrepreneurial process continues with a range of practices which include, among others, attractiveness and feasibility of an idea, gathering information to enable the determination of calculated risks to minimize the possibility of pursuing an idea that is not feasible. However, in this instance, EI defines a significant impetus which plays a crucial role in the process of moving from an idea to entrepreneurial behaviour. Therefore, this paper aims to determine how EE curriculum content inspires the students to be entrepreneurs and create self-efficacy.

Literature Review

There are many definitions of entrepreneurship as there are many efforts to define it, and none of them considered in isolation gives a complete explanation to its meaning; rather they are complementary (Sikalieh et al., 2012; Letsoalo & Rankhumise, 2020). Entrepreneurship is an important factor for the improvement of the economy in a country since it can positively contribute to the quality of citizens’ lives through job creation, innovation and productivity growth (Rankhumise & Letsoalo, 2019), and the wealth the entrepreneurs (Nian et al., 2014). In other words, effective entrepreneurship can create job opportunities, reduce unemployment and create economic spin-offs, hence the rationale for many countries to foster and recognize the importance of EE, which is aimed at preparing students to be successful in their respective careers upon establishing new business ventures. As reported by Lekoko et al., (2012), universities play a pivotal role in harnessing the talents of students and graduates as they are conceptualized as a societal innovation system and EE which is aimed at producing entrepreneurially oriented and competent individuals. Universities have a role to play in re-engineering how they teach entrepreneurship and can assist to create more entrepreneurial disposition among students by instilling an explicit understanding of risks and rewards, teaching opportunity seeking and recognition of skills (Matlay & Mitchell, 2006).

Entrepreneurial Education

Unemployment is one of the major challenges that South Africa faces post-democracy. Given the failure of both the public and private sector to absorb the ever-growing number of job seekers in South Africa, increasing attention has focused on, among others, entrepreneurship (Fatoki & Oni, 2014; Letsoalo & Rankhumise, 2020). In other words, high unemployment rates amongst the youth in South Africa (Aragon-Sanchez et al., 2017; Mothibi & Malebana, 2019; Letsoalo & Rankhumise, 2020) necessitate finding plausible solutions to the unemployment-problem. Entrepreneurship, as an intentionally planned behaviour (Krueger & Brazeal, 1994; Krueger et al., 2000), is being recognized as one of the important solutions to the increasing unemployment rates and stagnant economies (Miralles et al., 2016; Letsoalo & Rankhumise, 2020). Encouraging the youth to view entrepreneurship as an attractive career option and stimulating their intentions to start businesses would help them create jobs, not only for themselves but for others (Mothibi & Malebana, 2019). As highlighted by Isabelle (2013), and Rankhumise & Letsoalo (2019), around the world, business communities, governments, and academia have been looking for ways to support and encourage new businesses to enhance economic development and to create jobs.

Azis et al., (2018) defined EE as a structured course offered in higher education level, which contributes to the development of students’ entrepreneurial attitudes, abilities, skills and enhance their intentions to launch new ventures. Therefore, EE prepares people, especially the youth, to become responsible and enterprising individuals with the potential to contribute to economic development and sustainable communities (Oguntimehin & Nwosu, 2014; Asitik & Nunfam, 2019). As argued by Kalyoncuo?lu et al., (2017), EE can enhance individuals’ determination and increases thoughts that assist in addressing possible challenges in an attempt to establish a business venture. Arguably, EE underpins the need for both employable skills curriculum and educators or lecturers with an excellent understanding of entrepreneurship (Zenner et al., 2017). EE covers a wide variety of audiences, objectives, contents and pedagogical methods (Fayolle et al., 2006). The most commonly cited objectives of EE by previous studies are: to acquire knowledge germane to entrepreneurship, to acquire skills in the use of techniques, in the analysis of business situations and the synthesis of action plans, to identify and stimulate entrepreneurial drive, talent and skill, to undo the risk-averse bias of many analytical techniques, to develop empathy and support for the unique aspects of entrepreneurship, to revise attitudes towards change, to encourage new start-ups and other entrepreneurial ventures, to stimulate the ‘affective socialization element’ (Alberti et al., 2004).

EE, according to Matlay & Mitchell (2006), is distinguished in two areas; viz

(a) Education about Entrepreneurship - which entails developing, constructing and studying the theories referred to the entrepreneurs, venture creation, the contribution to the economic development and the entrepreneurial process. Kabongo & Okpara (2010) believe that entrepreneurial activities should entail skill-building courses, leadership, new product development, creative thinking and exposure of students to technological innovation. All these factors are acquired by the nascent entrepreneurs and students; they are likely going to succeed in business activities. Matlay & Mitchell (2006) explain that education about entrepreneurship is more on the construct and transference of knowledge about a particular field. Notably, this is more of a theoretical perspective.

(b) Education for Entrepreneurship - this area is more about addressing present and prospective entrepreneurs to develop and stimulate the entrepreneurial process and displaying an enabling environment by providing all the requisites necessary for the start-up of a new venture and this focus on the learning experience and development of competencies, skills and aptitudes (Matlay & Mitchell, 2006).

It is a generally accepted notion that entrepreneurship or certain elements of it can be taught and that it is not only limited to only those who are born with certain skills, characteristics and attributes (Bell, 2015). Because of this, educators are at liberty to use different methodologies/strategies that support the learning objectives and the requirements of the students. Nian et al., (2014) explain that entrepreneurial education also known as entrepreneurial education serves to deliver entrepreneurial knowledge, skills, and abilities to the students for assisting them to pursue their careers as entrepreneurs. Accordingly, EE’s purpose is to train the students to gain innovative entrepreneurial skills and take opportunities to succeed in their respective business endeavors. Similarly, Ghina (2014) posits that universities develop entrepreneurial programs aimed at capacitating the students to create, plan and manage a real business. Moberg (2014) explains that the main idea of education through entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial pedagogy is to focus on learners’ interests and motivation as the basis for their learning process. Furthermore, Ghina (2014) attests that the implementation of EE within universities is aimed to infuse the entrepreneurial culture and self-efficacy to the students. This would further create new educated and well-rounded entrepreneurs with self-confidence to start businesses that would create jobs and contribute to economic growth. Similarly, Do Paco et al., (2015) posit that some of the EE programmes only connect entrepreneurship to new venture creation, business management and ultimate teach people about entrepreneurship and enterprise instead of teaching them for entrepreneurship. In this regard, the focus should mainly be on developing students’ skills, attributes, and behaviour.

Furthermore, it is notable that for EE to be more effective, educators must have self-efficacy. Scholars of entrepreneurship believe that self-efficacy is important to improve educators’ effectiveness in teaching EE and stimulate students’ intentions and encourage them to become future successful business owners (Pihie & Bagheri, 2011). Some scholars such as Walter and Dohse (2009) explain that the effect of EE commonly depends on the concrete form and content of the offered courses.

Content Delivery

Ahmad et al., (2014) attest that the prevailing instructional methods currently used are traditional teaching methods inter alia with, textbooks, lectures, seminars, and assignments. These teaching practices corroborate with what Lekoko et al., (2012) identified in their study among students in two universities in Botswana that the typical teaching methods used by those universities are lectures, case study-based learning, group discussions and simulations. Based on these findings, it is imperative to provide a clear understanding of what should be taught (learning content) and how such content should be taught (pedagogies). Ahmad et al., (2014) argue that greater effectiveness of EE can be achieved, through the use of alternative teaching strategies that relate to learning entrepreneurship. These strategies could include among others, experiential learning and problem-based learning. The context of experiential learning is that individuals create knowledge through transforming their lived experiences into existing cognitive frameworks and this assists the learners to change the way they think and behave. Problem-based learning - is a strategy that emphasizes developing students to be more creative and problem-solving orientated. This strategy is learner-centric and suggests that students are at liberty to work on their own, turning to the teacher for advice on specific issues and provide answers to specific problems in contrast to being passive recipients of lectures in a classroom setting. For entrepreneurial education to be effective there should be a relationship between the goals of the entrepreneurial programme, the audience to which the programme is delivered to, and the content of the entrepreneurship courses, the method of delivery and the assessment (Lekoko et al., 2012).

Entrepreneurial teaching programmes and the attempt to teach students to become prospective entrepreneurs is a phenomenon that is growing at a fast pace worldwide. In response to this worldwide offering, most universities teach entrepreneurship as part of the curriculum and undoubtedly entrepreneurship is not improving (Matsheke et al., 2017). Hsiao et al., (2012) posit that EE should not only prepare students for starting businesses but also exerts their expertise at a higher level. What it means is that after the completion of the programme, the students should be able to start and manage their respective businesses with what they have learned. Of great importance is that EE is a system that anticipates developing the entrepreneurial awareness, entrepreneurial thoughts, and entrepreneurial skills of students.

Various scholars believe that when developing EE, university educators must understand what needs to be included in the content of the subject. Hsiao et al., (2012) posit that for EE to be able to enhance EI, the program must include skill-building courses such as negotiation, leadership, creative thinking, technical innovation, and new product development. Other scholars suggest that the content should further include management know-how, finance, banking and practical plans for business opportunities that would be attractive to them to pursue the businesses. Lekoko et al., (2012) share the same sentiments and provide further crucial elements needed in the content, inter alia with; entrepreneurial skills, generic management skills, marketing and financial skills. Ahmad et al., (2014) explain that EE should focus on entrepreneurial issues such as searching for opportunities, creating business ventures and the development of bankable business plans. Once all these elements of the content are included in the core curriculum, there could be a greater possibility of enhancing self-efficacy among the students exposed to the content.

The literature related to the entrepreneurship curriculum delivery was adequately consulted and discussed and some are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1: Entrepreneurship Curriculum Delivery Literature
Author Purpose Findings
Letsoalo & Rankhumise (2020) To investigate the perception of students in the two universities who are enrolled in the entrepreneurship programmes about their intentions of entrepreneurship education. The students from the two universities had positive entrepreneurial intentions. As a result of the positivity demonstrated by the surveyed students, entrepreneurship education plays an important role in nurturing student inclinations toward pursuing entrepreneurship as a career.
Rankhumise & Letsoalo (2019) To explore the factors associated with the performance of SMMEs from the owners’ perspective. Entrepreneurship is an important factor for the improvement of the economy in a country since it can positively contribute to the quality of citizens’ lives through job creation, innovation and productivity growth
Nian et al., (2014) To investigate the practice of
Entrepreneurship education in University Malaysia Perlis and perception of students on entrepreneurship education.
Effective entrepreneurship can create job opportunities, reduce unemployment and create economic spin-offs, hence the rationale for many countries to foster and recognize the importance of EE, that which is aimed at preparing students to be successful in their respective careers upon establishing new business ventures.
Lekoko et al., (2012) To explore and investigate entrepreneurship education at Botswana’s two universities to determine and evaluate its effectiveness. For entrepreneurial education to be effective, there should be a relationship between the goals of the entrepreneurial programme, the audience to which the programme is delivered to, the content of the entrepreneurship courses, the method of delivery and the assessment
Matlay & Mitchell (2006) To give an overview of
Entrepreneurship education in South Africa.
Universities have a role to play in re-engineering how they teach entrepreneurship and can assist to create more entrepreneurial disposition among students by instilling an explicit understanding of risks and rewards, teaching opportunity seeking and recognition of skills.
Mothibi & Malebana (2019) To examine the determinants of entrepreneurial intention among secondary school learners in Mamelodi, South Africa. Encouraging the youth to view entrepreneurship as an attractive career option and stimulating their intentions to start businesses would help them create jobs, not only for themselves but also for others.
Oguntimehin & Nwosu, (2014) To determine the challenges in Entrepreneurship education in Nigerian universities and proffer solutions to the identified
problems.
Entrepreneurial attitudes, abilities, skills and enhance students' intentions to launch new ventures. It prepares people, especially the youth, to become responsible and enterprising individuals with the potential to contribute to economic development and sustainable communities
Kalyoncuo?lu et al., (2017) To investigate the effect of entrepreneurship education on
Entrepreneurial intentions of students.
EE can enhance individuals’ determination and increases thoughts that assist in addressing possible challenges in an attempt to establish a business venture.
Zenner et al., (2017) To analyze how and to
what extent entrepreneurship education has been conceived and implemented in vocational
Schools in and around Bangalore to face these challenges.
EE underpins the need for both employable skills curriculum and educators or lecturers with an excellent understanding of entrepreneurship.
Fayolle et al., (2006) TO propose such a framework, based on the theory
of planned behaviour (TPB).
EE covers a wide variety of audiences, objectives, contents and pedagogical methods.
Kabongo & Okpara (2010) To investigate entrepreneurship course offerings in business administration/management curricula in sub-Saharan higher education institutions. Entrepreneurial activities should entail skill-building courses, leadership, new product development, creative thinking and exposure of students to technological innovation.
Bell (2015) To determine the impact of an experiential learning approach on the perceived development of entrepreneurial traits and to measure the level of both student engagement and satisfaction. Entrepreneurship or certain elements of it can be taught and that it is not only limited to only those who are born with certain skills, characteristics and attributes.
Ghina (2014) To evaluate to what extent the effectiveness of entrepreneurship education in Indonesia. The implementation of EE within universities is aimed to infuse the entrepreneurial culture and self-efficacy to the students.
Moberg (2014) To analyze the influence of two different approaches to entrepreneurship education at the lower secondary level of education. The main idea of education through entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial pedagogy is to focus on learners’ own interests and motivation as the basis for their learning process.
Do Paco et al., (2015) To compare the psychological attributes and behaviours associated with entrepreneurship, as well as entrepreneurial intentions among girls attending a business school and boys attending a sports school. Some of the EE programmes only connect entrepreneurship to new venture creation, business management and ultimate teach people about entrepreneurship and enterprise instead of teaching them for entrepreneurship
Pihie & Bagheri (2011) To determine entrepreneurial efficacy among teachers and students from technical and vocational secondary schools. Self-efficacy is important to improve educators’ effectiveness in teaching EE and stimulate students’ intentions and encourage them to become future successful business owners
Ahmad et al., (2014) To review entrepreneurship education in Malaysian public
Universities.
The prevailing instructional methods currently used are traditional teaching methods inter alia with, textbooks, lectures, seminars, and assignments.
Matsheke et al., (2017) To assess the role played by entrepreneurship content of the curriculum in students’ intentions and attitudes to venture into new businesses. Entrepreneurial teaching programmes and the attempt to teach students to become prospective entrepreneurs is a phenomenon that is growing at a fast pace worldwide and most universities teach entrepreneurship as part of the curriculum and undoubtedly entrepreneurship is not improving
Hsiao et al., (2012) To understand whether an entrepreneurship course can improve the entrepreneurial intentions, satisfaction towards the entrepreneurial course and learning efficacy of technical university students. EE should not only prepare students for starting businesses but also exerts their expertise at a higher level and the completion of the programme should enable the students to start and manage their respective businesses with what they have learned.

Test for Internal Consistency and Ethical Considerations

Research ethics provides guidelines for the responsible conduct of research. It educates and monitors researchers and scientists researching to ensure a high ethical standard. This study subscribed to all ethical principles. Ethical approval was granted by the Tshwane University of Technology research ethics committee (clearance number: Ref#2018=04=005=Rankhumise EM, et al.,).

Cronbach’s alpha, with 0.7 cut-off point, was used to test for internal consistency (Hair et al., 2019). The instrument subtheme of interest was entrepreneurial curriculum and content (ECC), with Cronbach’s alpha of 0.9295 (see Table 2). Therefore, all items were reliably testing the underlying latent construct.

Table 2: Test For Internal Consistency
Items Obs Sign  Item-test Correlation  Item-rest Correlation Average Inter-item Correlation Alpha
The lecturer is more experienced and knowledgeable presenter (d1) 465 + 0.7487 0.6882 0.5485 0.9239
The course content is relevant to what needs to be done in real business situation (d2) 463 + 0.7846 0.7311 0.5421 0.9221
Since registering for this course, I have a better understanding about the business (d3) 463 + 0.8241 0.7794 0.5345 0.9199
The lecturer did a good job in making the course relevant to the real situation (d4) 463 + 0.8326 0.7897 0.5327 0.9193
The course content developed entrepreneurial knowledge and skills (d5) 464 + 0.8200 0.7741 0.5350 0.9200
Through this course, the lecturer stimulates interest in entrepreneurship (d6) 463 + 0.8329 0.7903 0.5324 0.9193
The course provided me with a new and different experience in understanding how to run a business (d7) 464 + 0.8111 0.7634 0.5367 0.9205
The course has provided an opportunity to learn business activities practically (d8) 464 + 0.6834 0.6077 0.5601 0.9272
The course content should include management know-how (d9) 460 + 0.7096 0.6398 0.5560 0.9260
The curriculum for this course should include financial skills (d10) 460 + 0.6709 0.5966 0.5628 0.9279
The curriculum content should embrace generic management skills (d11) 459 + 0.7092 0.6405 0.5563 0.9261
Test Scale       0.5452 0.9295

Material and Methods

This comparative study followed a cross-sectional quantitative design. The study used secondary data from the parent study that was aimed at evaluating university students’ perceptions of entrepreneurial education in South Africa. The statistical software package that was used for data analysis is Stata Release 15 (StataCorp, 2017). Stata’s mrtab command was used for the analysis of multiple response items (Jann, 2005). Shapiro-Wilk test was used to test for normality of the data. Table 3 indicates that the hypothesis that the data are normally distributed was not accepted at 0.05 error rate. Therefore, there is enough evidence to conclude that the data were not normally distributed.

Table 3: Test For Normality
Item Count W V z Prob>z
The lecturer is more experienced and knowledgeable presenter (d1) 465 0.90063 31.312 8.252 <0.001
The course content is relevant to what needs to be done in real business situation (d2) 463 0.92546 23.398 7.552 <0.001
Since registering for this course, I have a better understanding about the business (d3) 463 0.90519 29.760 8.128 <0.001
The lecturer did a good job in making the course relevant to the real situation (d4) 463 0.90575 29.585 8.114 <0.001
The course content developed entrepreneurial knowledge and skills (d5) 464 0.90499 29.883 8.139 <0.001
Through this course the lecturer stimulates interest in entrepreneurship (d6) 463 0.92705 22.901 7.501 <0.001
The course provided me with a new and different experience in understanding how to run a business (d7) 464 0.88194 37.132 8.659 <0.001
The course has provided an opportunity to learn business activities practically (d8) 464 0.93018 21.960 7.401 <0.001
 The course content should include management know-how (d9) 460 0.94130 18.318 6.964 <0.001
The curriculum for this course should include financial skills (d10) 460 0.91214 27.418 7.930 <0.001
The curriculum content should embrace generic management skills (d11) 459 0.93441 20.428 7.224 <0.001

All items used to measure the latent construct used visual analogue scales (Struwig et al., 2001). Thematic questions were labeled d1, d2, d3, d10 and d11 (see Tables 2 and 3). Summary measures were presented as frequencies and percentages for categorical data, and as percentiles and interquartile ranges for measured data. The Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test (also called Wilcoxon rank-sum test) was used to compare the distributions for the two institutions (Fagerland & Sandvik, The Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test under scrutiny, 2009; Hecke, 2012). The results were interpreted at 0.05 error rate. In other words, the difference between the two study groups was declared significant if the observed p-value was less than 0.05.

Results and Interpretations

Summary Statistics

The number of participants from the Tshwane University of Technology TUT was marginally higher than that of students from Walter Sisulu University WSU (279 [57.64%] vs.

205 [42.36]). Precisely, 484 students participated in this study. The majority of participants were in their first year of studies (292/484; 60.33%). They were followed by those who were in their second year (115/484; 23.76%). There were 10 (2.07%) participants who did not disclose their level of study of which they were all from the Walter Sisulu University students. Table 4 presents details of how participants were distributed.

Table 4: Distribution Of Students According To A Year Of Study
Level of study Count Percent
First year 292 60.33
Second year 115 23.76
Third year 53 10.95
Fourth Year 14 2.89
Missing 10 2.07
Total 484 100.00

Table 5 indicates that the two institutions use different methods of teaching in the delivery of content. Those methods include business simulation, guest lecturing, experiential learning, and case studies, practical and lecturing. The most popular methods of teaching that are used at the two universities are lecturing, practical approach and case studies. However, case studies and practical were the second popular approaches after lecturing at the WSU and TUT, respectively.

Table 5: Teaching Approaches
Institution Teaching Approaches Frequency % of responses
Tshwane University of Technology Business simulation 31 7
Guest lecturing 43 9.71
Experiential learning 46 10.38
Case studies 57 12.87
Practical 65 14.67
Lecturing 201 45.37
Total 443 100
Walter Sisulu University Business simulation 2 0.75
Guest lecturing 4 1.5
Experiential learning 8 3
Practical 13 4.87
Case studies 66 24.72
Lecturing 174 65.17
Total 267 100

Tables 6 and 7 present summary measures for students’ perceptions of lecturers, and curriculum and content, respectively. Due to the subjective nature of the data (i.e., the data were not normally distributed), the median or 50th percentile was used as a measure of central tendency and the interquartile range was used to measure the spread (or variability) of the data from the centre.

Table 6: Summary Measures - Students’ Perceptions Of Lecturers
Institution Item Percentiles Interquartile Range 
25th   50th   75th  
Walter Sisulu University d1 7.5 9.5 10 2.5
d3 7.5 9 10 2.5
d4 7.5 8.5 10 2.5
d6 7 8.5 9.5 2.5
Tshwane University of Technology d1 6.5 8.5 10 3.5
d3 6.5 8.5 10 3.5
d4 6 8 9.5 3.5
d6 5.5 8 9.5 4

 

Table 7: Summary Measures - Students’ Perceptions Of Course Content And Content Delivery (Curriculum)
Institution Item Percentiles  Interquartile Range
25th 50th 75th
Tshwane University of Technology d2 6 8 9.5 3.5
d5 7 8 9.5 2.5
d7 6 8.5 9.5 3.5
d8 5 7.5 9 4
d9 6 8 9.5 3.5
d10 7 8.5 10 3
d11 6.5 8 10 3.5
Walter Sisulu University d2 7.5 8.5 9.75 2.25
d5 7.5 8.5 9.5 2
d7 7.5 9 9.5 2
d8 6.5 8.25 9.5 3
d9 6.5 8 9 2.5
d10 7 8.5 9.5 2.5
d11 7 8.5 9.5 2.5

Table 6 indicates that TUT Interquartile Ranges (IQRs) were marginally higher than those of Walter Sisulu University. Therefore, the WSU observations were consistent. Also, the observed medians for TUT were marginally higher than those of WSU. This implied that TUT students were consistently rating their lecturers positively more than their WSU counterparts.

The WSU observations were consistent as compared to their TUT counterparts since the IQRs for WSU were shorter than those of TUT (see Table 7). The median observations for TUT were higher than those of WSU in d2, d5, d7 and d8. The medians between the two institutions were at par in d9 and d10. Otherwise, the WSU d11’s median was higher than that of TUT.

Inferential Statistics

Tables 8 and 9 present the results of Wilcoxon rank-sum test which is a non-parametric analogue to the independent samples t-test (Fagerland & Sandvik, 2009; Letsoalo & Rankhumise, 2020). It (statistically) compared students’ perceptions of lecturers and of course content and content delivery (curriculum) between the two institutions.

Table 8: Comparison of The Two Institutions - Students’ Perceptions of Lecturers
Item Rank-Sum P-value
Tshwane University of Technology Walter Sisulu University
d1 56447.0 51898.0 < 0.0001
d3 57520.0 49896.0 0.0016
d4 57831.5 49584.5 0.0059
d6 57836.5 49579.5 0.0037

 

Table 9: Comparison Of The Two Institutions - Students’ Perceptions Of Course Content And Content Delivery (Curriculum)
Item Rank-Sum P-value
Tshwane University of Technology Walter Sisulu University
d2 57279.5 49836.5 0.0020
d5 59073.0 48807.0 0.0340
d7 57898.0 49982.0 0.0031
d8 57369.5 50510.5 0.0017
d9 61730.0 44300.0 0.7660
d10 63327.0 42703.0 0.1077
d11 59102.0 46468.0 0.1845

Table 8 indicates that the perceptions of students in the two universities differed significantly, with the results indicating that the TUT students scored the items with higher scores than their WSU counterparts. In other words - as compared to their WSU counterparts, TUT students believed their lecturer was a more experienced and knowledgeable presenter (p < 0.0001), they thought the course content was relevant to what needed to be done in a real business situation (p = 0.0016). Also, they thought the lecturer did a good job of making the course relevant to the real-life situation (p = 0.0059). Finally, they thought the lecturer stimulated interest in entrepreneurship (p = 0.0037).

The differences between the two institutions were not significantly different concerning students ‘perception of whether or not the course content should include management know-how (p = 0.7660), the curriculum should include financial skills (p = 0.1077) and the curriculum content should embrace generic management skills (p = 0.1877). Otherwise, a significant difference between the two institutions could be observed on d2, d5, d7 and d8 whereby the TUT students than their WSU counterparts believed the course content was relevant to what needed to be done in a real business situation, that the course content developed entrepreneurial knowledge and skills, that the course provided them with a new and different experience in understanding how to run a business, and that the course had provided an opportunity to learn business activities practically. Table 9 makes this explanation more explicit.

Discussion and Conclusion

This paper reported that students from the two institutions share a common perspective of EE and the delivery of content in the institutions. Notably, the two institutions used different teaching methodologies with lecturing as a dominant method, followed by case studies. It also revealed that the TUT dominated in other teaching methods, for instance, guest lecturing and experiential learning. While TUT students than their WSU counterparts are more agreeable to most items that sort to test the extent to which EE contend is being delivered (see Table 9), the significant difference between the two study groups may suggest that the curriculum is not a stagnant component of teaching components. The curriculum requires practitioners to act as reflective practitioners. In this way, the content will strive to meet the demands of the ever-changing business world. Therefore, quality EE depends more on the teaching method and selecting a teaching approach is influenced by different factors including the objective of EE (Arasti et al., 2012; Wahid et al., 2015). Furthermore, the TUT students had a positive towards the course content that it was more relevant and provided them with adequate knowledge and skills in understanding how to run the business activities. This finding increases students’ self-efficacy to immerse themselves in entrepreneurial activities in the future and this concurs with what Purwana & Suhud (2017) and Chen et al., (2015) attested in their study. It can be concluded that EE content influences the process of improving students’ attitudes towards entrepreneurship; thus, lecturers should ensure that they present the course using a variety of methods to ensure that the students fully understand and grasp the subject matter.

Research should be carried out to find out the effect of EE on graduates that essentially started their businesses after 5 years of graduation. It is recommended that EE should be a compulsory course at the undergraduate level to boost students’ entrepreneurial acumen and propel economic growth.

The findings provide notable grounds for the two universities to consider how they deliver the EE among their students. With a better understanding of entrepreneurship among prospective graduates, the HEIs could be able to turn students to become entrepreneurs and also develop self-efficacy. The results can thus encourage the lecturers to undertake a more thorough evaluation of its curriculum and considering setting strategic goals on how entrepreneurship can be delivered to the students.

Limitations

This study adopted a quantitative approach that limits the responses of the participants; i.e., the quantitative approach suppresses the voices of the participants. In contrast - the qualitative approach enables elaborative responses. Future studies may consider applying a mixed-methods approach to appraise the opinions of participants. Also, future studies may include samples from all other South African universities to infer results to the country-level.

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to Mr. Kabelo G Kaapu (Office Administrator - Baditi Student Support Programme (BSSP): CAE. University of Limpopo) for technical assistance and Ms. Maite H Makgoba for data encoding and data management.

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