Anita Craig

The Higher Education and Training Minister, rightly, challenges South African universities to do better, writes Dr Anita Craig. But is the Minister correct in casting the issues as either following best practice - or transforming the curricula? For Craig doing what universities ought to do well will lead to global and local gains.

"What science means is not always clear to everyone, so to many the idea of a social science can be doubly confusing," writes Dr Anita Craig. "This is regrettable in a country, and continent sorely in need of more not less knowledge. A better understanding of people is a firm foundation for any successful, professional intervention into the lives of others. This is particularly true with respect to education".

We get to know the world and the people around us through our five
senses (hearing, smell, taste, touch and vision), as well as through the
joint effort of all five senses thus making up a kind of "sixth sense?. Apart
from sensual knowing, we also get to know many things through the ways
our minds and brains organize reality, and what we experience (e.g. people
understand the world in remarkably different ways from other animals, who
might even have better sensory equipment, e.g., the eyes of birds of prey,
or the noses of bloodhounds).

'Culture? is a term that covers everything that is learned from others like us.
It is a term for all that we are and do that is not inborn, natural, or from our
biology. In fact, what is learned is very often unnatural, that is to say,
culture often works against biology, or as a social force that attempts to
exercise some control over our biological inclinations.

"Every schoolchild knows about IQ, and its false copy, EQ, vocational tests, and tests of interest and personality," writes Dr Craig. "In what follows I make a few notes on different kinds of tests and specific abuses in the use of tests."

There is good money to be made in offering to improve people?s critical powers, their thinking and problem-solving skills, and even their (whole) brain (function).One can nowadays get hold of everything from vitamins to improve "intelligence? and dubious "medicines? for "injured? cells, to courses on thinking skills, ways to exercise the brain, and how to use the whole brain or at least both hemispheres.

It is not easy to select the "best fit? between what your company needs, and the trainers and/or courses on offer. As a rough and ready guide, every available option will be good enough for something or someone?s needs; the question is, is it the best choice for you or your organization? A great deal of time and other resources are wasted on misdirected interventions.

"We can all easily agree that good, better, and the best knowledge for any particular task at hand is underpinned by educational systems which are also good, better, or (at best) excellent; what we do not talk about often enough is the kind of society in which knowledge and education are properly twinned and adequately valued by all," contends Dr Anita Craig.

The shortage of talented people is a global phenomenon, so the battle to find and retain skilled staff is a battle in all markets. Dr Anita Craig highlights some of the stategies that companies are using globally to manage their talent gap.

I have recently completed a commission from the International Social Science Council [ISSC], a NGO in formal associate relations with UNESCO. My task was to survey scholarly articles written by social scientists over the last decade in order to produce a 'think piece' to enable the secretariat of the ISSC to draft an outline of the 2009 World Social Science Report.

In this, the second of four highly informative and readable articles on knowledge management by Dr Anita Craig, she delves into the topic of cognition and how it affects the way you aquire and deal with information, and how you then transpose this into usable knowledge. Over to you, doc...

In the final article of her four-part series on knowledge management, Dr Anita Craig looks at ways of converting and utilising the knowledge gained by a business into a wealth-creating asset.

In the third of her informative articles on Knowledge management, Dr Anita Craig looks to debunk some myths and common conceptions about reasearch, as well as how to measure it's veracity and thus to measure it's validity to your business.

In this, the first of a four-part series of articles by Dr Anita Craig, she looks into how knowlege is defined, and how to better understand it's relevance in the business process.

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