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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
General…

LEARNING AS THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF SUSTAINABLE GROWTH

MAN HAS BEEN LIVING ON EARTH FOR A long time. Man has been planting for a long time. When viable seeds and grains are planted, they germinate, grow into mature crops and produce seeds and grains. What type of growth do seeds and grains undergo when they germinate and grow into mature crops? What type of growth does the young person undergo as he or she grows up into maturity? Do human beings grow one year and shrink the following one? Social scientists, lawyers, and the African leader think that the world began yesterday. No; there is a written history of the world’s 5000-year development experience. No single civilization is responsible for all the progress mankind has made so far.

The Timetable of Technology (1982), is a record of the 20th century’s amazing achievements in communication and information, transport and welfare, energy and industry, medicine and food production. It is also a compilation of the fringe benefits of technologies, including conveniences such as paperclips, instant coffee, credit cards, and coloured pictures. The book is also a compilation of man’s great feats like man on the moon, power from atom, powered flight, telephones, x-rays, vaccines, lasers and television. Paul Gammarello(1982),reflecting on man’s achievements in the 20th century, observed that the world was more transformed in the 20th century alone than it was transformed in the previous 70,000 years since man first learnt to use tools and light fires. The rate of progress is accelerating, he added; the rate of growth of the scientific knowledge available in the 20th century alone may have tripled what was available in the previous 70,000 years.

What do the industrialized nations do or have in common? What did they do to become industrialized? Africans talk of technology transfer – Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs). Who transferred technology to Britain – the first nation to achieve the modern Industrial Revolution (IR)? Britain like all other industrialized nations was an agricultural nation for a very long time. If agricultural nations became manufacturers of innumerable scientific and technological products, they must have acquired the capabilities for manufacturing the products! How are capabilities (competences) acquired?

 All persons are born as crying babies. The baby soon begins to babble (learns how to talk), acquires the competences to talk and talks (Ogbimi, 1990). The baby who could not babble grows up to be a dumb adult. Talking or speaking is a skill (Hurlock, 1972). The child must also learn how to read and write, otherwise, it grows up to be an illiterate. No one or nation is born with the skills to produce. All knowledge, skills and competences are acquired through learning. One who wishes to be a good dancer must learn how to dance. A nation which hopes to manufacture many products must develop the people to manufacture them. The talented pianist must play the ordinary tunes before using his talents to compose extra-ordinary tunes (Ogbimi, 1990a). Learning and acquiring new knowledge, skills and competences and applying these in solving problems including production, are the primary sources of achieving sustainable growth and industrialization (Ogbimi, 1991). Learning results in relatively permanent changes in knowledge, skills, experience and other behaviours (Klausmeier, 1985). Learning promotes the achievement of irreversible and sustainable economic growth in a society. Learning progresses from the novice position to the expert’s position (Stahl, 1990).

Daniel Lee(1852), wrote that progress implies an advancement from things known to things unknown – an addition to the aggregate wisdom of the world. Hence, except a society makes systematic efforts towards increasing knowledge, progress is impracticable. Schumpeter (1934), wrote that development is internal to a people and a nation. A backward nation waiting and begging foreigners to come and invest in it so that it can achieve growth and development, is only wasting time and other resources.

 The intrinsic value of the learning-man or learning-woman appreciates in a compound fashion with learning intensity and time. Thus, when a person commences an educational or apprenticeship scheme, he or she begins from the lowest or novice position. Usually, at the end of the first year of learning, the learning-person is promoted to the second level, having learnt the things scheduled for level one. At the end of the second year, the learning-person again, is moved to level three. The growth achieved this way is sustainable. The learning person builds-up capabilities or competences, that is, the ability to do things increases as long as he or she continues to learn. The intrinsic value of the learning-person can be expressed in a quantitative manner. In a nation where learning – education and training, is emphasized, there is continuous build-up of knowledge, skills and competences (KSCs). As the learning process continues, a point is reached where each type of KSCs begins to enjoy the supportive impact of all others and all of them form an invisible KSCs-network, a sort of problem-attacking front. The nation at that point achieves Industrial Revolution(IR) – a technological puberty. Productivity improves dramatically, the nation achieves economic diversification – various sectors of the economy begin to perform efficiently and effectively. The economic transformation described as IR, may be likened to that which the spider achieves when it combines many of its silk-threads to make its web. The single silk-thread the spider spins, is a relatively weak structural material which fails readily under any stress regime. However, the web which is made from the combination of many of the weak silk-threads catches the small creatures on which the spider feeds. In a like manner, no individual solves the problems of a nation, but a combination of many millions of knowledgeable, skilled and competent people transforms an agricultural nation into an industrialized one. Learning transforms an individual or nation from an undesirable status (characterized by mass unemployment, low productivity and poverty) into a desirable status (characterized by low unemployment, high productivity and affluence).

Our quantitative analyses showed that the variables for planning for industrialization are: 1) N – the number of people involved in productive work or employment in a nation; 2) M  - the level of education/training of those involved in productive activities in the economy and of the people of the nation; 3) L – the linkages among the knowledge, skills, competences and sectors of  an economy; 4) r – the learning rates or intensity in the economy and especially among the workforce; and n – the experience of the workforce and the learning history of the society. All the variables are related to the learning-man and learning-woman. Moreover, the higher are the values of the variables, the better is the economy. A national growth rate measurement based on some or all of these variables would reflect the true economic situation in the nation. These are the variables Nigeria should be measuring. But Nigeria has been wasting time and other resources erecting structures and measuring growth in GDP which makes no positive impact on the people or the economy.

 


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