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Do We Need Educational Criteria to Become a Politician?

Posted by Admin on May 9, 2014 | Comment

Our PM has the distinction of being an alumnus of both Cambridge and Oxford University. Our Finance Minister is an MBA from Harvard University. At the same time, we also have an IITan as a Chief Minister and a couple of other politicians who are proud products of Ivy League institutions. However, a probing look on the flip side would make us realize that except a handful of literate lords of Indian political system, most other stakeholders remain uneducated and uninitiated.

Educational Criteria for Indian Politicians Doesn’t Exist

Previous political experience is the only thing that gets weightage while an MP or an MLA is nominated from a constituency. Being educationally qualified is not an obligation for any Indian aspiring to get into a politician’s shoe. It’s quite baffling to note that the erstwhile Bihar Chief Minister did not complete her junior school. In fact, former and present Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu couldn’t pursue education after matriculation. At a time when India is trying to increase its clout as a powerful player in global politics, such dismal facts set a wrong precedence. Moreover, it doesn’t augur well with the collective aspirations of the countrymen.

Why India Needs Educated Politicians?

An analogy is drawn between a company head and a politician as both must possess the aptitude for understanding the complexities of their challenges to take the development engine forward. Without a certain level of education, it becomes difficult for a politician to have a grasp over the real issues of the people and get deep into their pain areas. As a representative of people at large, it always helps a political leader to remain well-informed. He obviously needs some academic backing to be able to acquire knowledge and be in sync with the developments taking place around him.

One might claim that visionary leaders in the past were not always erudite scholars. True. But that doesn’t offset the fact that the political landscape has gone through a drastic change in post-globalisation era, and India cannot afford to have leaders who are not as competent as their global peers.

In absence of formal education, it becomes even more arduous for a politician to implement laws and form a concrete idea about the fundamentals of governance. It can also be argued that if individuals aspiring for government jobs are required to go through a strict screening process even after meeting the academic criteria, then why should there be no such eligibility requirement for the ones who are running the government? Isn’t it frustrating for the highly educated IAS and IPS officers to work under the uneducated leaders?

Further, an educated politician can prove more effective in stemming corruption. The cases of public servants getting mired in controversies would come down if someone academically sound holds the reign and doles out his responsibilities of doing checks and balances.

What Should be the Minimum Educational Criteria for Politicians?

In order to raise the standard of political debate in the parliament and focus on developmental politics, a minimum education criteria should be made compulsory and the same clause should be duly included in our constitution. Presently there is a widening rift between politicians and the common people. The knowledge gap has become evident today.

In such a scenario, Indian government could contemplate on introducing a periodic assessment system for the existing MPs to understand their grasp over local history, economy and politics. This could be done when the Parliament sits for the budget, monsoon and winter sessions. The same model can be replicated in state legislatures.

For the would-be politicians, lawmakers should frame academic criteria that should not be too demanding or excessively lenient. A somewhat strong exposure to education would complement a candidate’s inherent skills such as diplomacy, foresight and intelligence.

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