CERTIFICATE VERSUS KNOWLEDGE By Engr. Enyinda Nath OKEY

Facebooktwittergoogle_plus  There is certificate. There is knowledge. The two exist side by side. Certificate is there to attest to the level and quantity of knowledge, meaning that there must be knowledge already existing, and to be attested to.   Knowledge Knowledge Fig. 1: Knowledge Power is defined as the authority to demand action. Such authority can be vested according to the field of the person. For example, there is economic power, there is political power, there is knowledge power, etc.  To have knowledge means a culmination of the aspects listed in fig. 1 above. The ability to analyze, the ability to learn, the ability to process information, the ability to proffer a solution, to ability to acquire education, these make up the body of knowledge in a given discipline. Knowledge   Fig. 2: Knowledge is power   Of course, knowledge is power. A mechanic who knows his job, who understands how to diagnose and fix faults, who has the knowledge of why there was a breakdown and aptly applies that knowledge to fix a car, he is a powerful person. He is a man of knowledge in his field. His knowledge gives him power. He becomes an authority in his vocation. By that, he earns the respect of others who appreciate what he can offer to humanity. Knowledge is calibrated, depending on the vocation. It could take a medical student six years to be trained for the body of knowledge needed as a medical doctor. It could take six months to train a computer operator in being able to operate the various packages of a computer. It is all about knowledge. What is important is that knowledge comes with requisite skills that the person who has the knowledge can exhibit and be a useful member of the society.   Certificate A certificate is to certify, it is a testimony that something has taken place, in this case, a testimony that learning did take place. A certificate comes for those who have passed a set of criteria to ascertain they have acquired a body of knowledge.  A test is a procedure for critical evaluation; a means of determining the presence, test - a set of questions or exercises evaluating skill or knowledge. The award of a certificate signifies that one has attained or merited a level described in a given curriculum for the given vocation or event.   Certificate Fig. 3: Marriage certificate   There is a marriage certificate to testify to the fact that a marriage took place. Department stores can issue gift certificate for customers who buy items from them There are also academic and professional certificates. In some cases a department store can, in recognition of the purchasing and patronage power of a customer, offer a Gift Certificate. Certificate Fig. 4: Gift certificate   A gift certificate can be issued for a future purchase, as illustrated in fig. 4 above. Of course, there are academic level certifications, such as ones offered by WAEC, Polytechnics, and Universities.  These are certificates that indicate levels of attainment by the holder.     Certificate versus Knowledge The questions that each person needs to ask himself or herself include –
  • What skills do I have?
  • Do these skills meet industry standards?
  • Can I be employable with these skills
  • Can I survive working on my own with these skills?
  • Would acquisition of certificates and degrees increase my job chances?
  • Would acquisition of certificates and degrees increase my social status?
Certificate Fig. 5: Degree upsurge versus job availability Fig. 5 illustrates the case of the US. It is a projection that in as near as 2022, there would be more certificates and degrees than the actual job demands. It is already happening in Nigeria. As if to contribute to this discussion, there is the statement listed as in the website nairaland  in July 2015 with the following issues raised:  
  • Lack Of Required Skill : In a nation like Nigeria, it is an essential requirement for a graduate to be able to boast of a particular skill. Talking of your certificate, a million graduates can also tender the same thing even with better grades, getting ahead of them all is to actually get head of them by developing a stronger point of acquiring a skill. Employers are obviously tired of seeing same set of individuals with same set of qualifications springing up for interviews daily whereas they are in need of someone that will stand out.
  • They Are Educated Illiterates : According to a Nigerian minister who once announced that Nigerian youths are unemployable in defense of a question posed against the then President about his negligence in terms of job provision. He said “Just going to school and getting a certificate is not a guarantee of getting a job. Every employer wants beyond just a certificate. Every employer is out to employ someone with reasoning and intellectual might, not someone who cannot play with a full deck. Someone who knows how to and wants to learn more than what they studied in school and on the job.
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  • Someone who can readily bring ideas to the table on how the company can forge forward. Not someone with low reasoning capability who won't even be able to answer extremely trivial questions.“. A graduate is expected to develop him or herself so one can refer to such person as a worthy and employable graduate.
  Conclusion It is good to have a good education and good credentials. It is important to have the skills, the knowledge of the job, and be able to apply same on the job. Employers are getting fed up with applicants appearing for job interviews with several qualifications but who do not have the necessary job skills. The education institutions are not properly equipped. A lot of our lecturers do not have required job knowledge, the result being that the certificates and degrees obtained from a lot of our institutions are based on theoretical foundation with little skills or industry knowledge. When people have the required skills, even whilst waiting for paid employment, they can do things on their own that could earn them income. This is the reason the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has caused higher institutions in the country to introduce entrepreneurship training before completing of their degrees and diplomas. Engr Nathaniel Okey is a graduate of Engineering Technology from Brunswick, Canada.  Engr Nathaniel is a Nigerian  whose also writs poetry.                                                

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