Thursday, March 19

Should Education Ministers have education experience? You betcha

as per this paper, they should. The authors look at the relationship between higher education ministers and the performance of the sector that they govern and use the European sector as an example. They find that if the minister has prior experience in the sector, the performance of the sector is higher as measured by ranking data.

Now you can quibble about whether or not ranking data is a good enough measure, but it goes without saying that it makes sense for somebody with expertise to drive this ministry.

As a small test, I looked up the central ministers in India who were responsible for Education since Independence. Here is the list. It started with Maulana Azad who was the Minister for Education from 1947 to 1958. Great man. And because of his amazing contributions, the National Education Day is celebrated every 11th November on his birth anniversary. The successors to his post were all brilliant, educated men frequently with direct experience in this sector. But not always.

Karan Singh was the minister till 1980 and then the rot started…Take for example, SB Chavan, who was in office for 18 months 1988-1989, he had his degree from Osmania University…good heavens. Shela Kaul had a degree in teaching so that’s good. KC Pant also was good in terms of education, but no experience. Narsimha Rao, good education and well intelligent, but no experience. P Shiv Shankar, educated but no experience. VP Singh, educated but no experience. Arjun Singh, no information on education or experience, but guess none. Scindia has had a good reputation but no experience. ABV, educated but no experience. Bommai, educated but not experienced. MM Joshi, well educated and experienced. Kapil Sabil, educated but no experience. MMP Raju, educated but no experience. And then we have the current minister, Smriti Irani, who is not educated nor experienced.

Tragic. Weep for Indian Students you lot, weep. Such is the future of the country – in the hands of these career politicians who are, by and large, educated but not experienced. And now we have literally hit the bottom with a minister who is not educated nor experienced. 

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