REDUCING UNEMPLOYMENT IN NIGERIA – THE ROLE OF TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS IN THE ENTREPRENEURIAL DEVELOPMENT OF ENGINEERING GRADUATES
In Nigeria, the number of unemployed persons in recent times increased to 23,187,000 in the fourth quarter of 2020 from 21,765,000 in the second quarter of 2020, hence this paper is an exposition on the role of tertiary institutions in the entrepreneurial development of engineering graduates most of whom are unemployed. A brief discuss on the need for engineering-based entrepreneurship is presented. The key challenges hindering engineering entrepreneurship in Nigeria are highlighted. Some of the roles and strategies which the tertiary institutions in Nigeria can deploy to foster entrepreneurship amongst engineering graduates are presented and include; highly functional and strategic entrepreneurship development centers with think tanks, funding support for the most promising business ideas of students, business and entrepreneurship-motivated research, engaging with government and policymakers to make entrepreneurship fostering policies and minimize bottlenecks to business amongst others. Edo State University Uzairue is presented as a case study of a tertiary institution in Nigeria that has taken some steps in the right direction as regards entrepreneurial development. It is concluded that all stakeholders such as the government, industry, NGOs, and the students/graduates must partner with the tertiary institutions to achieve commendable results on the uphill task under consideration.