* It's All About Connecting With People
* MLAs & MPs Need Legislative Knowledge
* Learning More Critical Than Education
The debate on the qualifications of Parliamentarians and Ministers got a fresh lease of life after Education Minister Smriti Irani claimed that she had a degree from Yale University after all the controversies regarding her educational qualifications during the time of her appointment in the Narendra Modi cabinet.
D N V Kumara Guru, national chairman, CII Young Indians, journalist Madhu Kishwar and Rashmi Bhure, associate professor, department of politics, SIES College, participated in a debate "Should Politicians Have College Degrees" on BoomNews's show #IndiaHangout.
While you may not have a degree, it is important to have legislative understanding of issues. Many Parliaments, particularly at the state-level, pass laws without any debate. This suggests lack of knowledge.
The feeling is that while you may not be educated, you can surely keep learning continuously. For instance, Education Minister Smriti Irani herself was on a 6-day training course at Yale University on leadership.
"Degrees don't really matter. Elected representatives must get things done. The youth today are focussed on results. If the rule does not apply to IAS officers, why should it apply to ministers?" Guru asked.
Guru went to add that the biggest issue is ability to connect. "In public life, perceptions matters the most."
While Bhure felt that educational degrees do matter in public life, "students feel better educated people understand their problems better."
"We are moving to a more civic-aware society. While it is good to have degrees, it is not necessary in public life. And learning should never stop for anybody and that includes politicians."
Kishwar was vehement in her views. "A primary teacher cannot be appointed without a degree but an HRD Minister does not need one? HRD is the most important ministry for the information century. How can the HRD Minister not know the difference between a degree and a six-day course?"
Kishwar said that we have dumbed down our democracy by not setting any qualifications for politicians.