ERIC Number: EJ937529
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 14
Beyond Relevance: In Praise of Useless Knowledge
Ikpe, I. B.
South African Journal of Higher Education, v24 n4 p525-537 2010
The influence of positivism in education has been on the increase in the recent past, with academic departments increasingly being asked to justify the money spent on them and show some level of cost effectiveness. There is no other cluster of academic disciplines that is adversely affected by new wave of positivism as the Humanities which is increasingly being pressured to prove its worth in a society that is increasingly materialistic and where education serves a mere instrumental goal. The pressure has been on the Humanities to diversify, to reinvent itself and become more relevant to a new and increasingly technological era. In this article, I attempt a redefinition of disciplinary relevance beyond the obvious instrumental use promoted by this new wave of positivism. In a move reminiscent of Bertrand Russell, I argue for the pursuit of knowledge for knowledge sake and also point to the contributions, which hitherto supposedly useless knowledge can make to human society and the furtherance of human knowledge.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Higher Education, Cost Effectiveness, Humanities, Relevance (Education), Commercialization, Influence of Technology, Intellectual Disciplines, Politics of Education, Educational Change, Role of Education, Educational Policy, Educational Philosophy, Developing Nations
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Africa