Degrees of deception

Editorial July 25, 2010

The Higher Education Commission has uncovered more false degrees. The number of parliamentarians and provincial assembly members holding such documents has risen to 46. It could climb further as 36 universities across the country continue the process of checking certification. The issue is essentially a moral one. It is sad so many representatives chose to lie about their qualifications. The situation exposes just how easy it is to get away with falsehoods of this nature. The attempts made to hide the truth are still more unfortunate, with the whole matter of the degrees in recent weeks taking some ugly twists and turns.

As a consequence of these goings-on, respect for parliamentarians and other representatives has slumped. Over emails and in text messages all kinds of jokes about how to obtain a degree without passing the required examination are in circulation. The result of this is a further undermining of democracy in the minds of people. It is unfortunate that an issue as irrelevant as the possession of a degree should have led to this. The requirement regarding education remains a totally unnecessary and essentially undemocratic one — all the more so in a country where the literacy rate is barely 50 per cent. But while this may be the case the lies told by the MNAs and MPAs are not encouraging either. Surely, having members who violate the trust of the electorate with such impunity lowers the credibility and worth of parliament.

We have landed ourselves in yet another sorry mess. The degree issue means that another matter which is in many ways irrelevant has gained centre stage. Issues that have much more significance as far as people go have been pushed further back. But the fact of the matter is that the fake degree issue has caught public attention and attracts headlines almost every day. Some solution will need to be found. So far none has been suggested and this only adds to the sense of instability and disorder that we seem to constantly live with.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2010.


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