FAKE DEGREES AND GOVERNANCE SYSTEM

TARIQ AHMED SAEEDI
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Aug 16 - 22, 20
10

Issue of fake degree after doing rounds in the media finally has come to the rest with higher education commission having prepared verification report on degrees of lawmakers. Since the report is yet to be made public partial details about the verification process known to the media throw in the limelight PML-Q legislators with highest numbers of bogus degrees whereas analyses from veteran political analysts name PPP and PML-N as parties having large numbers of fake degree parliamentarians.

One thing is clear in this melodrama however and that is few lawmakers from all three mainstream political parties entered in to the 'graduate assemblies' through backdoor in Musharaf's regime when graduate condition became mandatory to contest the general election. Graduate was required as a minimum qualification in Musharaf's regime for a candidate aspiring to become member of parliament though the PPP-led government rubbished the condition as null and void. That is why, even after being declared as holder of bogus degree and thus having lost seat in his constituency, a candidate of PPP was re-elected.

It is an irony of fate for Pakistan that no issue is dead or solved, but gone to backburner for the time being to raise its yet ugly head in the future. It is an irony also because no process or institution had checked the authenticity of degrees to have been submitted by the nominees. Being supreme authority election commission at that time seemed to have closed eyes on the rightfulness of basic document to qualify for contesting election.

After a long time of seven or eight years all of a sudden the issue came to the surface out of nowhere with all parties shouting to pretend champion of ethics by condemning fake degree holders despite the fact they were equally responsible to control the deception by their members at the very beginning of issuance of party tickets. Yet in the race to outweigh representations of competing political parties in the parliaments, all must have condoned over this as peccadillo-a minor sin-akin to everything is fair in love and war. Political forces struggle to place their liked candidates in the officialdom, as they fear suppression to their political agendas by their ruling opponents and in this bid, they perhaps employ any tactic irrespective of its ethical substance.

The question is not why this issue was surfaced at the time when even genuine degree holders had lost senses in steering the country out of the mess of multiple crises; since why this issue was raised needs to be studied in the context of political situation in the country where power-hungry forces with some weird ideology want to rule the roost of administration and are cashing in on any issue that may propel the present governance system to its demise. But, the question is whether or not administration system of the country can be healed by political representatives from the rotten education system of the country? An umpteen numbers of articles have been penned down on the weaknesses of disparate education standards in the country. Masses have access to that type of education, which gives birth to premature educated lot at every stage: primary, secondary, and tertiary. The result is underperformance of the system such lot is inducted into, in addition to misfit effect that manifests itself in the failure of administration.

Pakistan ranks as one of the top countries in the corruption perception index of transparency international. Government departments are blighted with viral infections of corruption, nepotism, and favouritism. Financial scams in government departments are common disclosures made before the public accounts committee. Political influence reigns supreme from recruitment to selection processes in government departments. Selection committee is constituted to ensure induction of desirable candidates.

Since federal and provincial jobs are flexible in nature and as said hush up the misfit of person with the post, he or she occupies, employability of outputs of the education system is kept intact.

There are many institutions in both public and private sectors forwarding scores of underfed students tagging them with masters or bachelors. Barring few, which have relatively good quality of education, public sector universities are also involved in producing so-called graduates to run the ill-fated economy. Failure to control cheating in examinations and plagiarism are widely reported accusations against such institutes.

If a person gets a job on the basis of fake degrees he or she should be booked to the justice as he overrides the right of other deserving candidate.

Some say what the genuine degree holders have done to save the sagging economy and drooping moral values in the society. One PhD columnist revealed in its research-based column that Pakistan's economy had to endure wide fiscal deficits whenever educated legislators gained majority in houses of representatives in different governments in the country. This does not be misconstrued as if education is underestimated of its capacity to give push to the progress. In fact, education system of Pakistan unfortunately is incapable of producing economic, political and social leaders. Sadly, it is generally churning out zombies with insignia of perfunctory achievements.

Needless to say if a crackdown of a kind spreads to a massive scale to find out the authenticity of academic certificates of other government servants, the result would be more shocking. In private sector particularly a large enterprise, a degree may give key to entry, but retention is alone possible on the outcomes of performance appraisals and an incapable person cannot long hold feet in the face of hard tasks. Unlike private companies that follow strict reward and punishment procedures after hiring a person, public services and departments in Pakistan are magnanimous in neglecting weaknesses of human resources. Due to this neglect, governance system of Pakistan is terribly feeble to manage sudden pressures and incapable to straighten creases on the resources utilisation channel.