Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, a Russian playwright and short-story writer who is considered to be one of the greatest writers of all time. His career as a playwright produced four classics, and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics. writer Anton Chekhov is recognized as a master of the modern short story and a leading playwright of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He famously said: “Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” I agree, to the maximum extent. Of what worth is knowledge if is not put to use. Million dollars question.
First let me clear the difference between knowledge and education, education is something that we learn from our schools, colleges, or any other teaching centre, whereas knowledge can be learned and also earned throughout life. We can earn knowledge from various ways like learning, observing, experiencing, practicing, and many more. To earn knowledge you don’t need a particular way, it has its own way to reach everyone. Some preach to spread knowledge whereas some discuss. Most of the time knowledge is earned by a person through his own life experiences.
Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice. What is the value of the knowledge? why many people, like Anton, appreciate the knowledge so greatly? The global world and societies including Africans, takes knowledge very seriously. Children do or are strongly recommended to study at school for about nine hours daily to gain knowledge, and knowledgeable people are hired with better condition and command more respect from the society. My belief is that this is because our civilization has always developed with people putting their knowledge into practice, therefore, the value of knowledge can be greatly diminished without the application in the world.
If you know how to distinguish between right and wrong but you indulge in the wrong, aren’t you fooling yourself?! Even knowledge for the purpose of doing the wrong/sinning is of value only if you put it to use because it would make you suffer and learn from it. Pursuing idle/theoretical knowledge just to entertain the mind is a waste of time, which will not make you grow. Putting knowledge in practice however does not mean necessarily taking physical action. But before any acting, one needs to test the hearsay knowledge/information collected from others through the lens of own experience, by the use of logic and reason, based on clear facts.
Interestingly, knowledge does not always come with power. Knowledge is the state of awareness or understanding and learning of specific information about something and it is gained from experience or study. This means a person has the resources to express his views dynamically and make intelligent decisions based on his every day situations, awareness and understanding. This doesn’t make a man powerful. A man is said to be powerful when he uses his knowledge to mobilize in the right direction, and ultimately achieve resounding or unimaginable success and results.
Therefore, when a man has the ability or capacity to act or perform effectively with his knowledge then he gains Power. There is no particular age limit to learn something new, we can keep learning till end and keep earning the knowledge. We learn something to get the knowledge out of it and not to boost the ego to show superiority in front of others. Respect the knowledge, it will take you to a level ahead in your life. Never limit yourself with what you have, the more you discuss the more you earn.
Flowing from the above, and mindful of the looming danger in our education sector: Nigeria’s education sector is completely in comatose, with a population of over 200 million and a literacy rate of 52 per cent, it is clear that the foundation of Nigeria’s educational system is faulty and in urgent need of a fix. Sadly, it is on record that over 14.2 million children in this country are out of school. This implies that Nigeria is educationally disadvantaged. Sadly parents are distraught over the ever unending ASUU’STRIKE – the fact that the academia are part of the problems as exemplified by the current unpleasant situations (strikes from 1982 to date), justified the saying that Nigeria was established with seeds of destruction.
Ironically, when an elite class particularly the ‘Academia’ has been so thoroughly beaten by the rain that they no longer know when the rain started in the first place or what to do to find shelter, then the country is in trouble. That is the case with Nigeria’s intellectual elite. If no more than 40% of an academic’s time is spent on teaching, and a significant proportion of academics in Nigeria don’t have research, especially at cutting edge, what are they doing in the remaining 60%?.
I opine that University autonomy with a two-year fully funded period of moratorium, followed by annual grants that depend on students’ population and course performance, graduate employability (i.e., how many are gainfully employed in real jobs within six months of graduating), research & timely post-graduate (PhD only) output, research grant success, and research innovation & commercialisation by industry is what would provide a lasting solution.
Consequently, each university hires, fires and pays their academics in accordance with their personal and institutional performances. Government only business would be in highest level accountability issues to the taxpayers of the country and governance of the granting criteria. No salaries or equipment matters/issues. The details of such a scheme is not too difficult to work out and implement if we are serious. If you join academic strike you forfeit your pay, that is the way to go with partial or full autonomy in our tertiary institutions.
Finally, permit me to conclude this article that seeks to encourage Nigerians to explore different ways to our solutions… our entire system needs fundamental reforms which cut across every sector in our day to day affairs.
#WeCantContinueLikeThis ARISE ‘O Compatriots.
Richard Odusanya is a Social Reform Crusader and the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI