No knowledge, no development: It’s all about reading

Educational institutions and the media are both important in cultivating a reading culture

By Gaelle Sintoyia

The term knowledge economy was coined in the 1960s to describe economies in which the production and use of knowledge are paramount.

According to Shawn Grimsley, a renowned author in the US, a knowledge economy is one in which the production of goods and services is based primarily upon knowledge-intensive activities involving the collection, analysis, and synthesis of information.

From a corporate angle, Shawn says that success in this discipline requires the commitment of both workers and firms to continually learn and to increase their skills and expertise, which is what fosters innovation.

His viewpoint on this aspect brings into perspective the fundamental role of educational institutions and the media in the process of human development. While education facilitates the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits on the one hand, the media plays a crucial role in creating and shaping public opinion on the other. Note that the two institutions have a common attribute, in that they both impart knowledge.

My concern, therefore, is to assess the value and impact of this knowledge in social development, and whether it is being appreciated in our society today.

Going by Shawn’s argument, knowledge acquisition is a prerequisite to fostering innovation, suggesting that to innovate a more valuable product, then we need first to appropriate the knowledge we have acquired.

But what happens when we lack knowledge? – We lag behind in development, both at the individual level and at the corporate and/or regional level.

The parameter to measure our knowledge economy is the quality of our service delivery, the substance in our arguments, and the manner in which we respond to the various life issues that come our way.

To underscore my assertion, I note that the quality of service delivery in any organization is dependent on the knowledge wealth of its workforce. This is why most organizations invest in training their employees, usually with the ultimate goal of bolstering the quality of services they render to their clients.

Knowledge in decision making

Knowledge is always requisite in good decision making. Life is made complicated whenever people make decisions without any regard to background information or factual knowledge. On the same note, people who are knowledgeable stand the position to make better informed decisions in life.

In addition, reading and studying helps you to understand the environment you are living in, and gives you the confidence in articulating your views. More so, it gives you the insight to discern the opportunities around you. Knowledge gives you the privilege and the insight to see what others are looking at and are not seeing. With knowledge, you will be able to see opportunities where it is said there is none.

It is on this premise, that I urge us not to let go the reading culture. Having said that, we also need not to read just for the sake of it, it is apposite that we selectively feed our mind with that which is wholesome for building our intellectual capacity and for challenging our perspectives.

The specialist in the field of computer science, and information and communication technology (ICT) have a concept they call “garbage in, garbage out” implying that “if invalid data is entered into a system, the resulting output will also be invalid”. I then urge our young people not to be reading any trash on the Internet, but seek wholesome information that will impact them positively and prepare them for bigger responsibilities in life.

As we pursue opportunities in life, it is important that we study in preparation for them, lest they knock the door when we are not prepared. I have learnt in life that opportunities knock at every man’s door; however it is only the prepared that seize them. That is why it is imperative that we keep working on building our capacity, through objective study, so that when the opportunities come, they do not disapprove us.

Gaelle Sintoyia is the reigning Miss Maa Olmurani Festival and a student of United States International University (USIU) pursuing a bachelors degree in International Relations and Diplomacy.

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