The impact of higher education on entrepreneurial intentions of polytechnic students in South Africa.
Jwara, Nomthandazo Consolatrix.
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Whilst the rate of growth of unemployed graduates is gradually increasing, entrepreneurship is considered to be one of the factors that can increase employment and be a significant factor for economic growth in developing countries. Entrepreneurial education is measured as an important variable which impacts on entrepreneurial intentions. This study attempted to establish the impact of higher education on the entrepreneurial intentions of polytechnic students in South Africa and looks at the role of entrepreneurial education in developing entrepreneurial intentions for becoming business owners, using a sample of Durban University of Technology students. The study adopted stratified random sampling and a self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data from 366 respondents. The questionnaire comprised of close-ended questions and was distributed to under- and postgraduate students at Durban University of Technology from three faculties. Questions were answered at the point of collection and as a result, all the questionnaires were completed giving a response rate of 100%. The data obtained from the respondents was analyzed using the SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Science) package. The findings revealed a positive relationship between social factors while no relation existed between entrepreneurial intentions and current education and university life. In response to the tight labour market as well as the mission for sustainable competitive advantage at DUT and for the growth of the South African economy, higher educational institutions should integrate the positive change of mindset and skills about entrepreneurship in academic education and university life to nurture students’ entrepreneurial intentions. This can be achieved by the development of an entrepreneurial culture amongst academic and support staff in conjunction with student clubs. Given the significance of entrepreneurship, it is desirable to transform the educational system to encourage creativity and innovation in students. The study focussed on only three faculties at DUT, therefore the results may neither be generalized for the entire university nor for the entire South African polytechnic population. However, they could be used to form the basis for further studies because the study has ascertained that there is a need for change and improvement.