Is Grade 12 Certificate Necessary For Politicians?
The grade 12 certificate issue has turned out to be a hot one. It looks like the issue was not sufficiently debated. But where does that leave the rest of the document (constitution)? Is it possible that the other clauses in the constitution may be wanting, too, but we just don’t know yet, since they haven’t yet been or are not being applied now? For me, this is a classical indication of carelessness and negligence on the part of our society and I hope we learn from this. I hope we learn to take a systematic approach when addressing national issues (The story of the blind men and the elephant).
Going further, is having a grade 12 certificate a measure of literacy or education? Is literacy synonymous with education? What does it really mean to be educated? These questions can be answered via mere perusal of a dictionary. For more details on the essence of education, read Napoleon Hill.
However, education is subjective. My grand mum, who turns 89 this year, knows more about the medicinal properties of most of the plants that are found in the savanna, than me. In this respect, she is much more educated than me, a PhD candidate in Computer Science and Technology. Of course, she cant spell her name. But if you wanted to hire a consultant on African herbal medicines and you had to choose between me and her, she should obviously be your obvious choice, unless you are idiots.
The same pattern of reasoning must be employed when electing political office holders. We must look at how educated one is, in terms of how well they understand our problems and how their past experiences have prepared them to serve their constituencies. And the constituencies are capable of determining who is better “educated”, in this respect.
In my opinion, enshrining the grade 12 requirement in the constitution has just trivialized the need to have representatives that can comprehend issues, pertaining to the constituencies that they serve. Moreover, there is no evidence from any research or otherwise, suggesting that politicians who hold grade 12 certificates, diplomas and all sorts of academic qualifications perform better than those that don’t. Quite to the contrary, Dr. Kaunda’s govt didn’t have a lot of grade 12s/form 5s, but it is by far the best govt we have ever had, by any measure.
In spite of my BSc, MSc and my looming PhD, I definitely would do a lousy job running a ward in Isoka, where I hail from, simply because I am not conversant with the problems the people there have. And there are people in that ward who can do a much better job, but they may not get a chance, simply because they didn’t have a chance to learn what an atom consists of or who Isaac Newton was.