SECTIONS

Yes, just excuse our politicians from the degree requirement

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja with his lawyers and supporters leave DCI Headquarters in Nairobi over reports of certificate forgery on June 17, 2022. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The current hullabaloo about which presidential or gubernatorial aspirant does not have a university degree is almost laughable. However, we should not laugh at people looking for jobs in such harsh economic times.

But, those looking for these high flying jobs are unaware of the toils of the under-privileged and real jobs are the last thing on their minds. So I can still laugh, I guess.

The clamour for university degrees for Kenyans who had been out of school for a while, some in their twilight years, started after the introduction of Module 2 (parallel programmes) in the 1990s and gained momentum in the 2000s.

University education is supposed to encourage creativity and independent thinking, but many of our political leaders are not interested in these values and I don’t even think they need them.

Instead of following their noses, most just follow the smell of money and while university education is supposed to expose learners to new research and technology, our politicians are only exposed to deception and wheeler-dealing. They do not need university degrees to do this. Politicians do not need degrees to perform their abracadabra.

Some great leaders across the globe including those from this country did not have university degrees and while it would be too much to expect a Tom Mboya to come out of the current crop of leaders, we should just give them benefit of the doubt; let them use their KCPE certificates as long as they can read the order paper and count money.

Pursuit for higher education should be a passion to gain more knowledge and open a whole new world. It should not be a rush against time with the next general election in mind. It should not be the motivation to commit fraud.

Most of those rushing to place their documents on the table for IEBC or their opponents to verify have had the wherewithal to finance and pursue their degrees for some years, nay decades but being the opportunists that Kenyans are, they have to look for shortcuts.

Some may have dismissed university education the way a former classmate did while dropping out of school. He pointed out that a former MP and prominent businessman had not gone to school. 

Politicians must not acquire degrees fraudulently as they will render their calls of ‘education is the key’ meaningless.  That’s no way to show leadership and mentor ‘leaders of tomorrow’. But again, are Kenyan politicians, role models?

What is this obsession with university degrees even with thousands of graduates cooling their heels without decent jobs?

The writer is a journalist