Thursday, May 29, 2014

Smriti Zubin Irani: Educational Qualification and HRD Ministry.

Controversy has been raised whether Smriti Irani, a XII Standard Pass, could hold Human Resources Development Ministry at the Centre. ( The different claim at different times by her on her education in her affidavit to Election Commission is a different issue, and in any case the different claims made out do not amount to any great or higher qualification ). Should the Minister possess appropriate educational qualification to the Ministry concerned? Many would not think so. As Omar Abdulla, a Chief Minister belonging to Opposition Party, says, a Civil Aviation Minister need not be a Pilot, or a Coal Minister need not be a Miner. Many highly successful Finance Minister, both at the Centre and States were no economists. The Constitution of India or any Law does not prescribe any educational qualifications to hold a Ministry concerned and hence it is not illegal to hold a Ministry without any relevant educational qualifications. Propriety?  Probably not too. Minister offers leadership and executive skills, facilitation and implementation of programs evolved by the Experts' Body concerned. It is more so in the field of Higher Education which is run by autonomous institutions such as Universities and Institutes where government interference is least expected and mandated too. Minister's job is to oversee that those institutes are run by people of academic excellence who are competent, honest and committed. One of the main reason why the delivery of our educational system is poor in quality and relevance is that the system consists of people who are either poor in academic quality themselves or crooked and corrupt who use the system for personal gain rather than pupil's development. Minister must evolve strategies and mechanisms to weed out such elements by taking recourse to advice and confidence of honest and eminent people in the field to install competent and committed people in the Bodies of Institution governing education such as UGC, MCI, AICTE and Universities that are in her overall command. Therefore, a Minister must have more of leadership qualities of direction, persuasion, team building, identification of and support to  talent, quality and excellence rather than educational/academic qualification and expertise.