Universities and other higher educational institutions play an increasingly important role in providing entrepreneurship education, training, and technical assistance to existing and potential entrepreneurs. The purpose of this paper is to investigate students’ perceptions of entrepreneurship and the role of universities in developing enterprise education in Oman, focusing on the case of Sohar University.
The research used a questionnaire based survey to collect primary data. From the total population of 3,633 students registered across different faculties during the academic year 2012-2013, a sample size of 200 was drawn using convenience sampling and the proportional allocation method.
The research outcomes revealed that the majority of the university students were optimistic and interested in starting their own business, but lacked knowledge about how to start a business. The students’ willingness to run a business and their sociable, go-getter attitude, confidence, and effective connections with established entrepreneurs were observed as enablers. Fear of failure and unwillingness to take risks were the major obstacles facing university students in treading an entrepreneurial path.
Overall, the study indicated a need for enterprise education, at programme and course levels, to nurture entrepreneurship among students in Oman.
Currently, Omani society is affected by a high level of unemployment. The research outcomes will help policy makers in assessing the potential of enterprise education. The promotion of entrepreneurship among women will enable more women to work shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts in building Oman’s economy. In a region where even today large numbers of women would never remove the face veil in front of male non-family members, these developments are very significant.
Very few studies have examined university students’ attitude to entrepreneurship and enterprise education in Oman. This study helps in bridging that gap.
The authors would like to thank Professor Stephen Hill, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Sohar University for his advice and constructive comments and Diana Gail Barnsbee, Lecturer, General Foundation Program, Sohar University for the editorial support.
Belwal, R., Al Balushi, H. and Belwal, S. (2015), "Students’ perception of entrepreneurship and enterprise education in Oman", Education + Training, Vol. 57 No. 8/9, pp. 924-947. https://doi.org/10.1108/ET-12-2014-0149
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