Bulk of MPs have not had 12 years of schooling
BY PANCHAMEE HEWAVISSENTI
It is reported that G.C.E Ordinary Level is the highest academic qualification of over 90 Members of Parliament in Sri Lanka. The government is planning to enact 12 years of schooling as a mandate, as it is disgraceful that the ones who are assigned with the duty of passing bills by casting votes have not schooled for 12 years. It is a sad state of affairs that approximately half the members of Parliament do not possess at least the minimum academic qualification required for a white collar job. MPs are the legislators, lobbyists for constituent causes, ombudsmen and advocates of the general public. To execute these responsibilities in a productive manner the elected people are required to be intelligent enough and should possess academic qualifications to an acceptable extent.
Majority of employment in the world requires education qualifications depending on the magnitude of the responsibilities associated with them. There are no academic requirements to become a Member of Parliament in Sri Lanka, albeit, it is the highest authority of the country. Illiterate or less educated populace of the world often tends to solicit employment that requires the application of their physical ability but not the brain. MPs in the Sri Lanka's parliament frequently use their physical and oral ability than their intellect. There are plenty of incidents to show that. This ironically evinces that the country is in the hands of partially edified imbeciles. Although the academic qualifications possessed by them are inadequate, the fringe benefits, fiscal profligacy and other privileges associated with their position are not at all inadequate. It is bewailing to state that even the highly educated scholars in the country cannot enjoy such a luxury that these half- learned men enjoy.
Let alone the academic qualification factor of these MPs, their decorum and integrity are also in question. However, it does not mean that only book smarts can administer the country. A person with a sound scholastic backdrop void of savoir- faire of social situations and day-to-day affairs become catastrophic when resolving public issues. A blend of these two requisites make a dexterous politician who will truly and immensely contribute to the development of the country.
Prof. M.O.A. De Soyza , former Head of Department of Political Science at the University of Peradeniya expressed his views to Ceylon Today with regard to the academic qualifications of politicians.
Excerpts of the interview:
?: What are the impediments in bringing in 'minimum academic qualification' criteria for politicians in Sri Lanka as it is reported that a considerable number of MPs are not academically qualified?
A: The public expect all politicians to have some sort of higher academic qualifications. What hinder candidates who possess sound academic background from entering the field of politics? 'Right to politics' applies to all citizens of Sri Lanka. Hence, it is impossible to impose conditions on candidates who wish to make their foray into the political arena. That is why even the candidates with least academic qualifications enter politics and hold responsible positions in the country.
It contravenes a person's fundamental rights to enter politics if he/ she are not given the opportunity to contest in the elections based on their education qualifications.
?: Well, selecting the right candidates to contest elections lies in the hands of political parties. Why cannot the political parties have a policy to select educated candidates?
A: Yes. It can very well be executed by the political parties. But, the problem is even the politicians who are at the decision making level of political parties are also less educated. It is hard to come across politicians with sound academic background in the leadership hierarchy of political parties.
There are sixty seven registered political parties in Sri Lanka. If you carefully investigate, how many of the heads of the political parties possess university degrees. There are a few to be found.
I believe that political parties have a role to play in this matter. They can consider giving nominations to persons with sound academic background to prevent uncultured and unlearned from entering into the political arena. But, this is hard to accomplish.
?: If the educated people are given nominations, can they win the election?
A: Not all the time. Education and politics are not going hand in hand. On practical grounds, winning elections involve a lot of hard work, deceptions and illusions which learned men may find challenging.
?: If only the educated people are allowed to enter politics and become the rulers of the country, what will the plight of the country be, and can the country be developed?
A: Certainly the country will be lead in the development trajectory if it is ruled by learned men. Education transforms a person and enhances his wisdom and knowledge. It is beyond debate that a learned person is far more wise, talented and able than an illiterate or a person who has not received proper education and that is why educated people are often consulted and advice sought from them.
Changes of thinking pattern, decision making ability and the behaviour occur as a person begins to acquire education. The person is then able to see the world in a broad spectrum. He gains maturity to rule the country.
On the contrary, Sri Lankan history provides evidence of successful politicians who were not highly educated. For instance, S.W.R.D Bandaranaike was a well-educated politician. But, D.S. Senanayake or Sirimavo Bandaranaike was not as educated. But the latter were successful as politicians than the former although they comparatively possessed less academic qualifications.
Those two politicians are highly regarded and acclaimed in the society despite their academic background.
Even if the uneducated come to power, if they are humble enough to admit that they are not learned and ready to receive right guidance from the educated people they can assist the development of the country.
?: Will the book smarts that hardly possess the societal or empirical knowledge too fall flat as politicians?
A: Politicians are policy makers. If they are educated they become clever and better policy makers. When less educated are appointed, they often have to seek assistance from the bureaucracy. Then the bureaucracy will begin to prevail over politicians and that will lead to intricacies. Balanced education and societal knowledge and understanding will produce a good politician who can serve the public in a productive manner for the betterment of the public and the country.
?: Some are of the view that politicians behave in a wild manner before media, just to portray a heroic character. But if the media is kept out of reporting the parliament sessions will they behave in a somewhat refine manner.
A: Behaving in a lunatic manner will damage their image. It is silly to think that by behaving aggressively they can win the hearts of the public. Nowadays, the electronic media broadcasts and telecasts aggressive speeches so that the spectators can have a good laugh at them. Some politicians are very apt in delivering jokes, while some mouth despicable words without any hesitation.
These politicians have wrongly perceived that malignant speech and aggressive behaviour will help them remain in power. This type of behaviour is downright ludicrous and damages the dignity of people's representatives.
?: How can the public be educated to use their voting power more responsibly to elect the suitable candidates to represent them?
A: Media has a role to play in this. Civil organizations can carry out awareness campaigns. Most of the voters are narrow thinkers. They look into the fact that who is more popular, who spends more money in election campaigns etc. Voters also look into caste, religion and the race of politicians. Some voters are matinee worshippers. Voters should be made aware on how to elect the suitable candidates to represent them in the parliament.
?: Do you think the educated politicians are corruption free?
A: No. Corruption is a part and parcel of politics. An educated politician will think twice before engaging in corruption. But less educated will make quick decisions. The educated are often reluctant to engage in what is unlawful and unethical. It does not mean that educated politicians will be hundred per cent corruption free.
- China to provide 90 water bowsers worth Rs 1b 2291
- Wag the Dog 2288
- A brief look at FARC’s origins in Colombia 2235
- ‘Panama Papers’ bags Pulitzer 2258
- SAITM will cooperate with Govt 2262
- dead man was near fashion mall 2300
- Japanese MPs back Lanka’s development 2264
- CB Bond earnings whitewashed – JVP 2273
- Talks to extend Lanka’s Continental Shelf 2282
- Ex-DIG and son re-remanded 2274
- Government can be sent home 2814
- GMOA flogging SAITM for Mahinda– Rajitha 2282
- Ranil invites Japan to invest in S. Asia 2250
- Somali Pirates’ Captives Back Home 2267
- Customs in Rs 8 M bust 2261
- Redefining Rape 2431
- The march of folly Our mad Cabinet system 1912
- First adventures in Europe 1998
- Inspiration for writers 1969
- Sri Lanka’s sustainable development dream 2285
- Sinhala and Tamil New Year with Easter 2167
- Filipino Oconer wins overall title 1903
- Unsporty conduct by Joes 1954
- Bertie Wijesinghe, pre-Test era Sri Lankan cricketer, dies aged 96 1927
- CEAT revs up for 2017 1918
- Palace shock Arsenal 1891
- Argentina fire coach Bauza 1913
- BCCI postpones SGM to 18 April 1883
- Murray returns from injury 1903
- New mum Azarenka to return to WTA 1861
- Galle win by 188 runs 1873
- Keeping Cool 1901
- Do the right thing and do it now! 1906
- Ravi Jayewardene Pious son of a political giant 2502
- In the heart of the old country 2325
- Sarath Weerasekera’s Geneva adventure 2153
- No moral right to play with public funds 2084
- No need for fine if route permits are issued in fair, just manner 1998
- UDA incurs Rs 330M Loss 1922
- DOUSING A MEGA SHIP FIRE 1740
- Health authorities in denial? 2226
- Minorities’ frustration a powder keg – VIDURA 2249
- Administrative powers a must for the Plantation Tamils –Radhakrishnan 1504
- Rajapaksa sought advice from McGuinness– Indika Perera 2650
- I will lead SLFP to victory in future elections – President 2029
- Hang the ‘traitors’– RTD. REAR ADMIRAL WEERASEKARA 2441
- We oppose Nationalism and Federalism – Samarasinghe 3104
- SilkAir launches direct flights to Colombo 1964
- Rupee falls on thin volumes 1937
- SriLankan, Japan Airlines add new routes 1924
- Colombo Port box volume up 5.6-pct in Jan 1919
- Private sector to transform into main domestic growth engine 1926
- Oil eases from 5-week top, rising US production weighs 1889
- Tight fiscal and monetary policies constrain SL’s growth 1917
- Shell admits dealing with money launderer 1898
- Toshiba may sell chip business to Foxconn for $27bn 1908
- Asian shares pressured by geopolitical risks; Nikkei down 0.25% 1892
- SLIM launches Certificate in Digital Marketing 1895
- Microsoft Hosts Second ‘Device Day’ in Sri Lanka 1896
- Emirates named Best Airline in the World 1877
- Turkish Airlines and social media assist Somalia 1897
- Brain cell therapy ‘promising’ for Parkinson’s disease 1891
- Trump pushed into bombing Syria 1951
- Thailand discovers Power of Women Travellers 1917
- Economics of gambling 1823
- Trans National Aural Identity 3479
- Queen Anula The Shadow of Cleopatra 3540
- Poetry and its possibilities Part 2 3540
- The Enigma of Labyrinths 3631
- From Couture to Kutir 3529
- Hybrid Sources 4919
- Offering Riddles & Enigmas 4982
- Poetry and its possibilities 5037
- With a festive bang! 1140
- Easter Fun 1130
- Arrogance and crowing is the way of the doomed 1178
- Avurudu on the streets 1187
- Tick control 1169
- Sunny Sunday on the beach 1148
- It’s time to save the world 1196
- From viewer to YouTuber! 1216
- Expert skincare and makeup 1238
- Avurudu at Induruwa 1206
- Exo 1234
- Remembering our fallen heroes 2324