By Ganiu Abisoye Bamgbose
The inspiration for this short public essay was borne out of a statement made by a professor of English, Adeleke Lefak Fakoya, in a lecture he delivered in the University of Ibadan in 2014.
The professor started his lecture at the English Language Clinic thus: “I will make this lecture educational and not academic.”
I did not make any sense out of the expression even though I found it captivating. And I have been asking myself: how does one make a lecture educational and not academic?
I found an answer to this two years later and I feel academics and academically inclined Nigerians should also be less academic and more educational.
I realised what Professor Fakoya meant by that was that his lecture on “The English Language in Nigeria” was going to appeal and be beneficial to everyone who was present, whether or not they were from the Department of English.
Let me now pose a rhetorical question that we all who claim to be scholars should answer to ourselves: WHO OUR BOOK HELP SELF?
50 papers in learned journals, 15 chapters in books, 22 conference papers, uncountable seminar presentations: what does this offer the general public? Are you even pushed by the need to address a social or academic problem or you are merely pushed by the need to compile publications for your next promotion?
Education is the acquisition of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that make one a functional member of the society. If it is full of citations, figures, charts and diagrams and at the end we can’t have a feel of what it addresses in the society then it is merely academic with no educational significance.
The six stages of learning are: understanding, comprehension, synthesis, evaluation, summary and, APPLICATION.
I am giving two interpretations to application as the final stage of learning: the ability to apply what you have learnt to real life situations and the ability of what scholars or academics write to have a significance to the society.
Universities in the developed countries are sources of income to their communities. This is consequent upon the quality of researches that their scholars turn out. Scholarship is worth it only when the TOWN benefits from the GOWN.
NB: I am a part of the audience of this essay. We all need to get better.
Ganiu Abisoye Bamgbose (GAB)