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Extract for the Book: The Next Zimbabwe

09 May 2019 at 08:06hrs | Views


There is no doubt that the education quality and level of the Zimbabwean population is of the highest standard in Africa and most parts of the world when it comes to national literacy rankings. The young and old are all in a bitter rush to attain the highest qualification or qualifications in their fields of expertises. For some individuals education has even stretched across a variety of fields, thus having a person holding qualifications in a number of fields (subjects) which might be related or unrelated.
Moving forward to the realisation of The Next Zimbabwe has motivated me to highlight to the populace on this subject of education and learning. Most importantly there is a fundamental difference between being educated and being learned.

Firstly I will define education as the process by which one is taught skills, rules, methods or ways of solving given scenarios or problems by using a set of guidelines or troubleshooting methods formulated from best practice in a particular field of expertise (field). Education is mainly focused on transferring knowledge which has been approved as best practice by boards which oversee education in a given country. This knowledge is accrued from the study of best practice through observations, trails (experiments), knowledge from overseas, trends or tests which have been done previously as remedies for real problems that had occurred, whilst the other part of it is derived from extrapolation of known variables.

When one is said to be highly educated in a field he/she has almost all the knowledge available out there derived from solved remedies and past experience which is adequate in solving similar problems. He has the capacity to solve all current problems presented in the current environment for that particular field.
On the issue of being learned, it becomes different as it can be in two forms. Firstly it can be said a person is learned as a result of education. In this case a person has knowledge from education but not for a single field, but rather a variety of fields. A learned person in this sense when making decisions on a course of action to take when given a problem is not blinkered by only one or a few areas of consideration from his limited knowledge (if only educated) but rather looks at the broader picture. In this sense that person is able to choose the appropriate skills or methods to apply to a given problem. He is not limited by knowledge learnt since the desire of finding out how most things work gives him the motivation to look broader for solutions.

The other form of being learned is not from education but rather a state of mind, were one is open minded in decision making and actions thus getting things to work efficiently. The ability to consider many variables, inter-relate across fields or even seek advice appropriately makes a person to be a learned individual. These skills are derived from past experience and or from the art of sound judgment. Sound judgment mainly led by past experience leads to objectives being efficiently achieved or new groundbreaking solutions, without one limiting himself by using knowledge which might not always apply to the real problems at hand.
The distinguishing of the two terms being educated and being learned is critical to the realisation of The Next Zimbabwe as it is at the core of Zimbabwe's current economic and political problems. Zimbabwe is a country rich in educated personal in most of the key sectors that make up the countries industry hence greater economic growth is expected. However this is not so because when it comes to being learned the results are in contrast.

A few people in the country possess the basic principles of learnedness especially those in key leadership positions. The rest of this article will explain why it is now more than ever critical for Zimbabwe's leaders both in business and politics to work on possessing the basic principles of learnedness.
The repossession of the countries' resources by the black majority through the land resettlement and indigenisation programs came in with new challenges borne from the desire to chart our own destinies. These challenges must be met, through the way we educate the population. Most importantly our leaders in business and politics must work towards possessing this art of sound judgement that comes from being learned.

Zimbabwe's education system was designed in the colonial days by the white minority who wanted to create capable personal to serve industry that demanded manpower to employ skills in pre-set and well-designed environments. The ability to design environments and inter-relate between the various areas which affected society and the economy at large were not incorporated in the education system. The basic knowledge required in a progressive economy by all that are; basic macroeconomic knowledge, the roles played by the various players in society towards building a progressive country and interrelations of these areas are absent from the current education system.

Sadly, I have however observed that when the education level of an individual in the country rises, the more resentful and demanding one is to the economy than what is gained from his or her knowledge. This situation is brought about as educated individuals now think they deserve higher rewards and recognition for years and money spent on their education. These individuals demand more power and act placing importance towards their own interests whilst totally disregarding work colleagues and the public at large. The objective of the education system which is to produce personal focused on problem solving is hence forgotten and replaced with the fight to prove knowledge on paper, presentations, debates and speeches without any increase in productivity. What we forget now is the lower levels of companies, organisations and communities are educated than before hence all have soon part to play in the progress of the nation.

The spread of Zimbabwe's educated population around the world has also lead to it only demanding the same changes in the country as seen and learnt from leading countries without careful insight to the countries own cultural, social  and  economic environments.  With this part of the population employing their skills in well designed and pre-set conditions and environment, not much thought and research is done on the coordination, evolution, commitment and stages the adopted countries had to go through to attain their current developed status. This situation leads to the people expecting someone else other than themselves to come from somewhere else to set ideal conditions to enable them to take an active and participative role in nation building.

Currently the educated part of the population boast' about qualifications and positions held at work or even personal success, than being aids to overall economic success and growth. Being out of touch with one's environment is a major problem brought by education for real problems might be overshadowed in complex theories and failure to take  simple steps of action to produce the perfect idea that is know under education. Learned values which lead to innovation, growth, efficiently and productivity maximisation are lost in the bureaucratic guidelines set by the education system. Through education the most important value is if one has followed the right procedure which sometimes might not even apply to the real problems at hand rather than focusing on the actual problem solving and results.

Being learned is a different and higher standard altogether. The state of learnedness not only means knowing what's new, what's trendy or interpreting the most recent best practice concepts in one's field. Importantly learnedness means acting to sharp new solutions and systems without much restriction to innovation from the guidelines of education.

Learnedness imposes an active participative character and attitude which first looks at the current position (strengths and challenges). Drawing from best practices, it now looks at creating solutions which suit one's cultural, economic and social environment rather than just copying from others. It takes note of the challenges to be presented by the various areas surrounding the environment for which action is to be taken. Learnedness uses resources that are currently available, identifying hidden strengths within the environment and aims to solve one's own problems. Partnerships' with other countries and entities are well guided as the objectives of the nation and strategies concerning all sectors are well defined and coordinated.
Learnedness seeks to value and reward the efforts and skills of even the lowest ranked member of society as it believes that every action and establishments is vitally important in the countries growth and success compared to education which seeks the best individual to stand out.

Looking at examples of processes which lead to the adaptation of some of the world's greatest concepts' and technologies the principals of learnedness were at play. For example the displacement method for measuring the volume of an irregular object, it was not discovered in the laboratory the places of excellence but rather whilst the inventor was taking an ordinary bath. It is vital to relate to one's own environment for one to produce solutions which apply to one's own problems.

In all this, most importantly learnedness believes that success is achieved in stages. It believes and appreciates all the stages involved in producing a finished product, even perceived failures at some stages of this growth is welcomed as it sharps and re-evaluates the desired goals. Henceforth it is vitally important to work towards possessing this higher knowledge, "learnedness" for the country to achieve the goals of this revolution that seeks self provision.

Stay Blessed

Terence Simbi
Youtube channel - TerenceS
Twitter - @terencesimbi

Source - Terence Simbi
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