Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Should Educational Qualification be Made Mandatory for Politicians?

Should Educational Qualification be Made Compulsory for Politicians?

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”
- Nelson Mandela

Educational Qualification be Made Compulsory for Politicians
Since the advent of India's independent era, the country has seen both extremely educated as well as uneducated leaders. This has stirred a huge debate as to whether education should be deemed as a necessary precondition for politicians in this day and age. In India, there is no minimum educational qualification required to become a minister; but, there is a minimum educational requirement to become a peon. However, a string of past events prove that even the well educated politicians use their education to satisfy their selfish desires. There have been a number of politicians involved in scams and corruption. The high amount of funds with the government has always been meddled with. Therefore, superior educational skills do not guarantee the presence of moral and ethical values in politicians; it is just a statement of how literate they are as they can use the same expertise to carry out illegal activities.

There is a thin line between literacy and education but these terms are often used interchangeably. More often than not, we get swayed by how "literate” a person is. Literacy is about acquiring skills and learning; whereas, education is about the application of these skills, knowledge, values, beliefs and habits that the individual has acquired over the years, for the betterment of self and others. Literacy can be seen as a means to education but not education in itself. “By education, I mean an all-around drawing of the best in child and man in body, mind and spirit" was a statement made by Gandhi and is the main driving force behind the Gandhi Philosophy of Education. He recognized the importance of education in all spheres of life. Therefore, education is a necessary the consolidation of a democracy and is essential to ensure an effective democratic rule.

The emphasis on the importance of education is often contradicted when the educated leaders and politicians get involved in a number of scams and controversies related to the government's finances. Not only this, political corruption exists in many forms and at all levels of the government. The nation has witnessed many such acts of corruption in the form of tax evasion, forcing the electorate to vote for a particular candidate, accumulation of black money with politicians and funding of electoral campaigns. There have been a number of scams like the common wealth games scam, Indian coal allocation scam and fodder scam that witnessed the embezzlement of funds worth thousands of crores. Presence of corruption is a classic example of how educated politicians can use their expertise for selfish gains. Therefore, to make education the ONLY basis for electing leaders is also wrong.

However, these educated leaders also possess the technical prowess to ensure that the nation experiences positive growth in all spheres. A few politicians have displayed impeccable skills in their area of expertise that has aided the process of development. One such example is the development of the railway sector and the techniques employed were discussed and analyzed extensively at the international platform. With the risk of a financial collapse of the railway sector, the politicians worked together and came up with dynamic solutions to counteract and ratify the issue. The economy has also experienced boom periods due to the efforts put in by these politicians.

Being the holder of a certain degree, does not guarantee that the candidate concerned will be a good leader. Therefore, being inflexible in terms of who contests elections is also ensuring the murder of the political system. With a literacy rate of 74.04% and a ranking of 105 out of the 127 countries in UNESCO's Education for all development Index (EDI), putting an education qualification as the minimum basic requirement would mean depriving a number of deserving candidates from availing this opportunity, who might end up being better leaders as compared to the educated politicians who have spent the majority of their lives locked up in classrooms and being distant from the happenings of the world around them. A good leader is the one who understands the needs of a society and does his best to make life easier for the country's citizens.

It is, however, important to ensure that the candidate chosen must be educated in the field of Public Administration and certain basic philosophies. He/she must be aware of the needs of a multicultural and diverse society to ensure that the socio-economic hierarchy that is present in society is abolished. An educated person can help better in aiding the developmental process of our country and in changing its status to that of a developed country. In addition to this, an educated person can aid in the attainment of the Education for all (EFA) goal of 100% enrolment in primary schools, one of UN's Millennium Development Goals.

Many leadership attributes are gained through acquiring formal education. By being a part of an educational institution and interacting with people on a daily basis paves the way for innovative thinking as an individual is open to the thoughts and opinions of a number of people. Due to these interactions a person also faces a number of situations on a daily basis which require them to think innovatively and creatively. This is also the essence of a democracy which requires the proactive participation of its citizens. We live in a country where education has been deemed as a fundamental right. Education is one of the five fundamental rights mentioned in the Constitution of India and if violated a person can seek judicial review by appealing to the courts, i.e. the Right to Education is justifable.

An educated politician won't be misguided easily by their educated counterparts like the Bureaucrats. They will apply an analytical approach when confronted by any issue being faced by the public. Educated politicians can be better policymakers, executors and can guide and control bureaucrats intelligently for the Welfare of the nation. Educated politician can conclude in a better way from the advice on any issue given by advisors. Therefore, educated politicians can prove to be better administrator, Statesmen, foreign ministers, international political negotiators, etc.

Therefore, there is a need to set a basic minimum education criterion in order to avoid senseless legislation and drain of wealth which are very important aspects in the development of operation because efficient availability of funds will ensure the smooth operation and application of the various schemes started by the government to aid development. Despite this it is important that the candidate is not solely judged by the degree that they have earned. A well rounded leader is the one who possesses the required positive will power, intelligence, efficiency vision, creativity and also has a dynamic and charismatic personality for development of society and the nation.

Just like possessing certain skills makes you a more deserving candidate for a job, acquiring educational qualifications will only help a person to grow as an individual. Education will not harm a person in any way but will only help them grow and nurture their potential. It will also help them to identify their strengths and weaknesses as an individual. Therefore, the role of education must not be disregarded altogether. Being a leader calls for acquiring practical knowledge and ability to make quality decisions and these aspects of a leader are directly influenced by the education that they have acquired. However, a politician must not be judged solely on how much education they have received because in the end, the will power of a politician pushes them to work. We live in a country which has not yet achieved cent per cent literacy and to impose an educational qualification to contest elections would mean depriving a huge fraction of the nation from achieving its political rights and this would in turn mean the violation of the essence of democracy.



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