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Thursday, May 15, 2014

APPLIED ACADEMICS

There is no subject like applied academics taught in any school or university I know. Yet I think it is a very important science.  Nevertheless, I doubt that any university can teach a person to apply what they learn for the simple reason that students have to leave school to prove that they learned anything in school. Learning, in school, is a waiting game. The game starts when you graduate. Reflecting briefly on this last sentence makes you realize that you need to have a very personal reason and very specific goal for going to college because academics alone will do nothing for you in life if you cannot or will not apply it.

Academics gives you power to do everything that relates to a degree, but does not show you how to apply knowledge. One reason for this is that the context of application is so vast, varied and so tied to personal circumstances that it is impossible for a teacher to prepare everyone to deal with everything in life. This is the reason why teachers can only teach principles. You have to figure out how to make those principles work for you. This paragraph not only validates the need for training, but also implies that training is a very specific science of getting people to do what they know by equipping them with the know-how to do the job.   

Unfortunately, there is a misleading global assumption that people know how to use knowledge. We forget that there are major gaps between knowledge and skill, between skills and expertise and between experience and wisdom. These gaps are bridged by training. No amount of knowing can change any - thing. But a little doing can change things by a long stretch. Applied academics is about doing things, changing things. It's about doing things right and doing the right things. Applied Academics is about training a person for life.

Allan Bukusi

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