Degrees of reality

Published: July 3, 2010
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A lot of has been said about parliamentarians who have made a space for themselves in the parliament to try to make a ‘real’ difference by using a fake degree.

In the past two weeks, one of the issues to have gotten a lot of attention is that of fake degrees. From allegations to verifications to justifications, a lot of people have said a lot of things about parliamentarians who have made a space for themselves in the parliament to try to make a ‘real’ difference by using a fake degree.

I recently read an article published in this newspaper about how the Punjab government had decided to remove the academic qualification for members of local zakat committees. The day after that, the Balochistan chief minister said fake or real, a degree was a degree. Earlier this year, the director of the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education was also charged with having presented a plagiarised PhD thesis while the degree of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief minister (according to a newspaper report) had to be returned for being ‘not attestable’.

As sorry as the matter is, what makes it even more disturbing is not so much the fact that people with power have yet again manipulated the system for their gain but the fact that faking degrees points to the complete disregard for the importance of education as a priority in our society and for our government.

One example is the Budget 2010-11. The budget’s total outlay is Rs3,259 billion. According to a copy of the budget available at the website of the ministry of finance, education affairs and services fall under the category of current expenditure, as do defence affairs and services. Both are among the top five expenditures with education being allocated Rs34.5 billion and defence being allocated Rs442.2 billion – almost 13 times the amount earmarked for education. What is even more surprising is the distribution within education spending: primary education has been allocated Rs3.2 billion while higher education has been allocated Rs25.21 billion – many, many times that of primary education spending. This lopsided allocation makes one wonder who the government thinks would enter universities, kids that never went to proper primary school?

Clearly, in such a situation, those who do enter university have little choice but to fake having graduated. Their foundation is never real to begin with.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2010.

Zainab.Imam

Zainab Imam

A journalist, on a hiatus to pursue a Masters in Public Policy at The University of Chicago. Gender parity advocate, urban policy enthusiast. She tweets @zainabimam (twitter.com/zainabimam) and blogs at gulaabjamun.wordpress.com

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pracker S. Ali Raza

    Not only the above.. because of fake degrees, our politicians never took the education system seriously and the terrorism we see now a days are a result of our past negligence! Its these politicians who are the initiators of terrorism in Pakistan!Recommend

  • This is major issue of our country. No one is seriously thinking of Education. reason been that, people sitting in the parliment are illeterate. Imagine minister for water n power has no technical knowledge of generating power. Minister for Interior is under heavy allegetations including that of BB Shaheed. NO single minters fullfills the basic requirements to run their particular ministries. it is useless to rely on Rehman Malik ,that he will do something to bring pace in this country. useless to see if Pervaiz Ashraf will do something seriously for energy crisis.uselss in the case of babar awan aswell.
    they people don,t have basic knowledge of their relevent field . thats why they can not bring change in this country. just imagine the tinking of that person who says DEGREE IS DEGREE.
    God bless pakistanRecommend

  • Piscean

    I agree to what is said in the post itself and comments
    but I was just wondering that if according to UNDP our literacy rate (i.e.a defined as ability to read and write ) is just around 50%
    how can such a country’s democratic representatives be bachelors degree holders?

    i am just saying what are the odds?
    I am not justifying but in a logical way illiterate people’s representative must be illiterate aswell

    its one of inherent faults of democracy
    ‘galat-ul aam’ becomes ‘sahi-ul aam”Recommend

  • Noor Muhammad

    A country where honorable survival remains a dream for around 50 % of the citizenry, the qualification of its leaders shall take secondary importance.

    We all know that majority of the genuine degree holders passing through our universities lack essential wisdom and skills. You can see thousands of Masters of Geology who do not know anything about soil and a master of Mathematics who can not decipher the ‘science’ behind a square root. I can say with surety because while studying at a very expensive ‘highest category’ university, we had the bad fortune of being taught by a ‘double masters in math and stats’ who did not know anything about mathematics.

    The real question that we need to ask ourselves is whether being in possession of a degree would create any difference?

    Can people having doctorates in public affair and policy represent the downtrodden people of Pakistan? We have many examples of highly qualified (Oxens) who are still enslaving human beings in bonded labor. Tribal chiefs educated in the top universities of UK who still do not accept the importance of education for women!

    And the ‘highly qualified’, ‘non-feudal,’ aristocrats who know everything about global fashion brands but are ignorant of the basics of legislation despite of being in the parliament for many years and several terms.

    Does education/qualification really make a lot of difference?

    History is replete with examples of exemplary leaders who had never been to school, or never got any formal education.

    Providing clean drinking water, providing food and shelter, providing safety and security don’t require PhD scholars’ wisdom. It is all about honesty and righteousness. And I can guarantee you that these two values do not come from today’s education.Recommend

  • http://newzwatch.wordpress.com/ newzwatch

    in this country no one seriously give attention on education system.Recommend

  • http://newzwatch.wordpress.com/ newzwatch

    fake degree fake politician.Recommend

  • SHAKIL AHMED

    140 members of the parliment have fake degrees . and these parlimentarians are the law maker of our country it is a shame for us .Recommend

  • Bilal

    “What is even more surprising is the distribution within education spending: primary education has been allocated Rs3.2 billion while higher education has been allocated Rs25.21 billion – many, many times that of primary education spending. This lopsided allocation makes one wonder who the government thinks would enter universities, kids that never went to proper primary school?”

    Higher education requires much more funds per person than primary education. Your argument would make much more sense if you can compare the number of people that each of the allocation will benefit.

    And if by any chance you are saying that higher education should be ignored (or put on the back burner) in favor of primary education, how would you meet the increased demand of well-educated people needed to train the increased number of students at primary level?Recommend

  • Monkey

    Bilal, thank you for such a detailed response.

    I am not saying that at all. My only argument is that there needs to be proportional allocation for these two sections. We keep investing more on Step 3 before investing enough on Step 1. HE may require more money per person but unless we have a solid and sound primary education system, we cannot hope for a solid and sound HE system. Malaysia is one great example of this. Recommend

  • Monkey

    @ Noor Muhammad
    Thank you for such a detailed response.

    “A country where honorable survival remains a dream for around 50 % of the citizenry, the qualification of its leaders shall take secondary importance.” It’s not about whether they have a degree or not, it’s about the fact that they refuse to follow a law (regardless of whether the law makes sense or not). That’s why the issue is relevant: it just proves how easily and how frequently the rich in our country manipulate the law.Recommend

  • http://www.buyafakediploma.com fake degree

    I am totally agree with the conversation. These days Fake degree are becoming a social need for the unwanted students who can’t spent big money on studies to just get a degree. Government should take serious step to stop making fake degrees.Recommend