Thursday, July 22, 2010
No One Cares About Your Degree...
Academia is boring. Studying is annoying. Degrees are useless. Kids go to school/college to socialize and hang out with their friends, hit on girls (if your privileged enough to go to a liberal (read Co-ed) school) and to avoid spending all day at home being shamed by their families into getting a job; the only people that attend school for the sheer purpose of academia are the ones whose best friends’ have names like Stanlake, Shakespeare and Farkhanda Noor. Not exactly the greatest conversationalists.
Now, I have no problem with these bright eyed few who equate educational water carrying to future greatness. I’d just like to point out that they are sorely mistaken if they think their hard work matters.
Firstly, the numbers speak for themselves. We spend more on a single piece of military hardware than our entire education budget; Defense PKR 442bn versus PKR 34.5bn for education.....thank god foot soldiers are cheap…and largely uneducated. It’s also much easier to load up PSE’s with useless employees and then provide subsidies. Again, great politics, because people don’t care about education, they care about jobs. And you’ll always take time out of your day to help out the political party that gets you a job.
Secondly, contrary to popular opinion having a wall full of degrees doesn’t make you successful. It means you spent a lot of money and time in the hope that people will find it impressive. Pity that they don’t. “A's may pay, but D's get degrees”; wrong, a degree is a piece of paper. If one wants to succeed in Pakistan, they don’t need a degree. They need ‘contacts’, friends in high places and a liberal relationship with morals.
Dozens of officials are being slammed for possessing fake degrees. Instead of admonishing them, we ought to celebrate their brilliant complicity; after all, they didn't need a degree to be rich, successful and elected to parliament! The venerable Governor of Balochistan went as far as to claim that there is no distinction between a fake or real degree, after all, as he logically surmises, a degree is a degree. After all, they’re both a piece of paper. Never mind the difference between an elected leader and a military dictator…..after all, they’re both Presidents aren’t they?
On a financial stand point all of our Political head honchos are raging successes, and they did it without that measly piece of paper that everyone contends has value. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs didn't need one either. Education does not equate to success or measure ability, it measures time wasted, opportunities lost.
The Forever Talented Masses: I am tired about hearing how much untapped 'talent' there is in Pakistan. Now if there was so much talent, you'd think they'd be doing more with it. But they are not. In the unlikely scenario that this youth is more talented than your average vegetable, what have they done…. Other than complain? Verifiably awesome at that.
Pakistan is an agricultural economy. We grow stuff. We don't make computer chips. If you gave an average Pakistani farmer a fistful of $1000 Pentium chips, he'd dump them in his fields, and try to grow it...and they don’t, he'll blame the fertilizer , the government and the Zionists. We don’t need more computer science majors; we need people to work the fields and drive those Government subsidized Tractors, a computer programmer makes a terrible farmer…unless he plays Farmville.
Uneducated Electorate = Subservient sycophantic electorate. No Pakistani politician has ever democratically won his seat thanks to the 0.5% privileged rabble rousing educated segment of the population. They win because of the masses who couldn't tell the difference between a boti roll and a hot dog. Political parties have a greater scope to fool the masses if they haven't been taught how to think.
So, let's stop pretending that we education really matters. Over half our country is illiterate, and they seem to be doing alright. It's no biggie. There aren't any revolutionaries threatening to break down doors of parliament demanding things like good governance or any sort of Africa style famine pictures adorning our media's front pages. Things are A-OK.
In Pakistan degrees don’t matter. There. I said it. We don't need education. Well, let’s be generous and say we don’t need any more education (wouldn’t want those feisty ghost schools to go out of business). All we need is the Quran, and chaps that can interpret it for us, we tend to prefer the ones that we agree with.
Why bother investing in education when you can invest in bombs, bullets and government perks? No one cares about your degree; it’s just delaying your entry into the real world and considering the world we live in, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. No one cares, atleast not in Pakistan.
A Version of this Piece was Reluctantly Published on Dawn.com