By Dominic Odipo
Should the Kenyan Parliament represent and be able to speak for all the people of Kenya or for only those among them who have gone through university and somehow managed to pass the final university examinations?
Who should have the final say in deciding who should represent the ordinary Kenyan in Parliament? Should it be the ordinary Kenyan voter in each constituency, the anonymous lecturers at our universities who mark the university examination scripts or Kenya National Examinations Council?
Piece of paper
But what is a university degree anyway? Is it a pass degree which one gets by scoring an average of only 40 per cent at the final university examinations or is it a first class degree which one gets by scoring upwards of 70 per cent in those examinations? And if we demand any university degree this year, shall we be demanding a first class degree come 2017?
What about the quality and academic standing of the universities themselves? Is a first class degree from Harvard University in the United States equivalent to a first class degree from some college in the Indian state of Kerala?
A university degree is not anything which anyone can specifically quantify or gauge like height or weight.
This is one of the basic lessons that those who hold these university degrees quickly come to appreciate. It is merely a piece of paper which, these days, one can acquire in all sorts of ways and which, confronted with certain leadership or moral problems, can amount to absolutely nothing.
How does a university degree in the mating and reproductive habits of the anopheles mosquito help an MP who is trying to reconcile the Gabra and Borana communities in Marsabit County?
How does a doctorate degree in the life and times of the tilapia of Lake Victoria help you as a legislator when your immediate task is ensuring that the maize farmers within the Bura and Hola settlement schemes get immediate payment for their produce?
Let us, by all means, glorify the university degree even if we cannot all agree on exactly what it is, but let us not attempt to crucify millions of our own innocent compatriots on the cross of that degree.