Who’s Afraid of Fake Degrees?

Published on CHOWK, by Foqia Khan, July 9, 2010.

Fake degrees issue has become a livewire, a big frog stuck in the throats of all political parties in these uncertain times. The seminar on “Degrees and Democracy” recently at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Islamabad, in its choice of panelists reflected the current turmoil caused by this issue.

Activists Q. Isa Daudpota and Naeem Sadiq, speakers at the seminar, embody the Freire approach to education and society at large. They want to acquire freedom through civil society activism.

Freedom from fraud, freedom from rigging, freedom from abysmal educational standards, freedom from lying, cheating and climbing the ladder through illegal means. Earlier, they jointly sent a petition to the Supreme Court to make the Election Commission verify the degrees of Parliamentarians and to take the Election Commissioners to task for not checking carefully the degree holding Parliamentarians … //

… Therefore, the opposing opinions in the seminar I attended are not mere difference of opinion. It is a contestation between those who want to promote rule of law and those who want to subvert it. Sure, it is not a binary construction. Of course all politicians cannot be herded under one label and neither all activists are embodiments of the rule of law. There are always exceptions. However, we are talking about broader trends. There are multitude of factions and cauldron of views along the spectrum. The choice of speakers in the seminar mirrored the deeper divisiveness in the society. The battle for the rule of law and the bursting desire to subvert it is deep. Accumulation of wealth matters! Other than activists, we need drivers for the rule of law and need to think through the material incentives that can perpetuate the law in letter and spirit. (full text).

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