The Instigator
Mitraputra
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
hiroki01
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points

To be selected as a Member of Parliament in India one must atleast be a graduate.

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
hiroki01
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/8/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,824 times Debate No: 43568
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)

 

Mitraputra

Pro

Too many uneducated politicians have made Indian legislature a place completely void of logical reasoning and righteous uprising. The fiery orators are always shouting about how the general public is illiterate and hence the country is unable to function properly, but the fact that the face of those public, the elected politicians are not educated is often not spoken of. This also causes the unruly ambience of the Parliament, the high rate of corruption and also a few educated but corrupted ones ruling over the others who are less educated members elected from villages.
hiroki01

Con

I will be taking the "Con" in this debate, i.e. I will argue against the resolution that "to be selected as a Member of Parliament in India one must at least be a graduate".

Since Pro has instigated an affirmative statement, Pro has the burden of proof to show that higher educational qualifications are *essential* for serving as a good Member of Parliament in India, while I will negate the resolution by setting up an argument for why being a graduate is not always the best measure of a good politician, and therefore it makes no sense to enact and uphold such an arbitrary standard by only selecting graduates as Members of Parliaments in India.

As Pro has not made clear the format of debate rounds, and has so far only delivered introductory remarks for his argument, I assume that Round 1 is primarily for acceptance, and will wait till the next round before responding to arguments he puts forth in both Rounds 1 and 2.

I look forward to an engaging and civil debate. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
Mitraputra

Pro

Well to begin with I would state that with education comes rational thinking and the ability to choose between beneficial and detrimental decisions. As you know that to set up a new Law a bill has to be passed in Lok sabha, for which the consent of a simple majority and in some cases 2/3rd majority ( to amend the constitution) is required, now each vote is equally valuable irrespective of the person. Now in most cases what happens is the educated shrewd politicians influence the comparatively less educated politicians from rural India according to their wish. Those less educated rural politicians have been elected by tax paying citizens of India, he is suppose to represent those people, his decision is suppose to concern the people who have elected him, instead what happens is he doesn't have a decision. I would like to consider this as a major set back the basics of Preamble, and question the fact whether Republic of India is Republic at all or not.
Hence comes the need for a basic education, in todays fast moving modernized world Graduation degree is not really difficult to obtain, I mentioned Graduation degree just as a benchmark for a nominal educational qualification for those who run the country.
hiroki01

Con


Con raises a few points in his argument which I will summarize below, and show how they are all flawed or at least highly reductive, before offering two arguments of my own to negate the resolution.



==REBUTTALS==


Re: Education and Effective Governance


In Round 1, Pro writes, “Too many uneducated politicians have made Indian legislature a place completely void of logical reasoning and righteous uprising,” and he expands on this idea in Round 2: “with education comes rational thinking and the ability to choose between beneficial and detrimental decisions.”


Firstly, Pro has not provided any evidence to show that better decisions have always been made by Indian politicians of higher educational qualifications. Pro unquestioningly accepts the common assumption that people who are more highly educated ipso facto are people who make better decisions in the political arena. I need to make clear at this point that I am not arguing that education is peripheral to fulfilling the duties of a politician. It is absolutely important to have basic literacy (and for that matter other qualities such as integrity and passion to serve, that cannot be naively measured with formal education), but to posit a graduate degree as the minimum standard is highly arbitrary and unjustified, and as I will demonstrate in my argument later, potentially counterproductive.


Lalu Yadav, who holds not only a Bachelor Degree, but also a Masters in Political Science (no less!), shocked the general public when he was convicted for a series of atrocious corruption charges, including the 2G Spectrum scam, Coal Block allocation scam, and the Commonwealth Games scam. [1] Unfortunately, there is compelling evidence suggesting that Indian ministers who are graduates and postgraduates have been more prone to corruption. The deterrence of corruption, then, should not be approached by arbitrarily designating a minimal educational standard (as Pro has done here), but through a rigorous review of the Indian judicial and legislative structures and the institution of more robust checks and balances in the legal system.


In short, Pro’s fallacious assumptions that higher education necessarily brings about better decision-making processes in the Parliament and deters corruption are unfounded. If anything, evidence points to the contrary – that politicians with higher education are more likely to abuse loopholes in India’s deficient political and legal system for their own benefit while at the same time covering their tracks.



Re: The Arbitrary Standard of a Graduate Degree


Pro continues, “Hence comes the need for a basic education, in today’s fast moving modernized world Graduation degree is not really difficult to obtain, I mentioned Graduation degree just as a benchmark for a nominal educational qualification for those who run the country.”


I invite the audience to take a moment to consider what Pro has just claimed. He begins by declaring that a Graduate degree “is not really difficult to obtain,” and brushes it off as merely "basic education," when it is pretty much general knowledge that illiteracy and poor access to *genuinely* basic education in rural India are among the most staggering problems plaguing the country today. India has a literacy rate way below the world average of 84%, and has the largest number of illiterate people in the world. [2] Less than 1% of the Indian population hold a graduate degree; in other words, Pro's suggestion is passed as law, more than 99% of the population are instantly disqualified for political office for no good reason.


In anticipation of my argument later, also consider how Pro’s suggestion will result in a highly polarized society where power is increasingly concentrated in an ever shrinking pool of “elites” elected into political office by virtue of the fact that they are the only ones who can afford higher education. I fail to see how such a scenario will benefit the masses in *any* way at all.



Having rebutted Pro’s arguments as above, I will offer 2 more points of consideration for why the resolution simply should not stand.



==CON==



The Deplorable State of Indian Higher Education


This is not a red herring. If we were to even consider a “nominal criterion” for political office, we should have enough faith in that criterion for having satisfied what it has set out to do. This is patently *not* the case for higher education in India.


An article in the Wall Street Journal has revealed how call companies in India are having trouble even “[finding] new recruits who can answer questions by phone and email,” as even graduate applicants lack effective communication and “many lack a grasp of educational basics such as reading comprehension.” [3] This is further corroborated by another article which astoundingly admitted that “50 percent of Indian graduates [are] not fit to be hired”. [4] The predicament of Indian higher education today suggests that Pro’s faith in the graduate degree being the secret key to good governance has been wildly misplaced.


In addition, I invite Pro to read an article that summarizes how India’s education system is second only to their politics in corruption. [5] This furthers my point above that Pro’s suggestion would amplify the class stratification in the Indian society where the ruling elites comprise exclusively of people who are rich, from the higher classes of the social order, and can afford (through whatever “means”) higher education. Needless to say, both the education system and politics in India are in a state of disrepair, and the last thing that ought to be done is to mindlessly use one to fix the other and hope for the best.



The Affective Divide


A recurring problem in both developing and developed nations has been the dissonance between politicians and the respective electorates that these politicians are supposed to represent. The elected members of parliament in Singapore (all of whom very intelligent people), for instance, have been roundly accused for their “single-mindedness, sternness of purpose and cool detachment” and their aloofness to what the average Singaporean really needs. [6] This affective fracture between the governing authority and the governed will only get worse in India if *all* politicians are graduate degree holders, most of whom elected to represent large segments of the population whose needs and necessities may be very different from or even antithetical to what the politicians have experienced or been exposed to.


Moreover, there are encouraging precedents of Indian politicians who, despite their lack of higher education, have performed a wonderful job of representing the people. K. Kamaraj, known in India for his “simplicity and integrity,” was forced to leave high school early in his life but is remembered today for “bringing school education to millions of the rural poor by introducing free education” in his capacity as Chief Minister. [7] Pro’s suggestion would have precluded him from even being elected, much less the capacity to serve the people in the way he selflessly did.



Pro's suggestion is founded on several assumptions that are highly problematic. I have also shown how his suggestion, if indeed promulgated, would not only be profoundly unjust but in fact potentially counter-productive.


As such, the resolution is negated.



Sources:


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...


[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...


[3] http://online.wsj.com...


[4] http://www.ndtv.com...


[5] http://www.indiaeducationreview.com...


[6] http://catherinelim.sg...


[7] http://en.wikipedia.org...


Debate Round No. 2
Mitraputra

Pro

Well I quote your last argument "If anything, evidence points to the contrary " that politicians with higher education are more likely to abuse loopholes in India"s deficient political and legal system for their own benefit while at the same time covering their tracks." So according to you lets fill up the parliament house with illiterate people like Lalu Prasad Yadavs wife Rabri Devi. Well you wanted proof, Rabri devi Government vs Narendra Modi Government, which one would a sane man consider better.
Now you misconstrue my words, I never said education had anything to do with corruption, the whole point of my argument was that illiterate people are easily influenced by EDUCATED CORRUPTED PEOPLE... so that renders the uneducated MPs valueless...
Well you state "Less than 1% of the Indian population hold a graduate degree; in other words, Pro's suggestion is passed as law, more than 99% of the population are instantly disqualified for political office for no good reason." According to Indiancensus.gov.in there are about 3% Indians who are graduates, now who said anyone can be a minister. Its okay to have minimum educational qualification requirement for IAS, IPS, IES etc but we must have illiterate ministers, is it so. All these people have the same work, to run the country properly. If Executive has education as criteria why not the Legislature...
If 50% of the graduates are unfit to be hired then hire the other 50% who are fit to be hired... isn't it simple to have people do this who are capable.
You use the word "mindlessly" now I never said anything about mindlessly using one to fix the other, on the contrary I suggest a calm mind, intellect and great will power to fix the problems rather than ignoring them. I would like you to refrain from blaming me for something I never said.
You gave an example of the Singapore parliament, I would like to state that most of the Scandinavian countries have high literacy rate up to near 100%, the politicians are highly educated, and wouldn't you agree that they are functioning better than Indian government, they are obviously less corrupted.
hiroki01

Con

Re: Education and Governance

Pro claims that “So according to you lets fill up the parliament house with illiterate people like Lalu Prasad Yadavs wife Rabri Devi.”

I must say I felt seriously abused when I read this because that’s a straw man as amazing as anything I’ve seen. I would like to point him to my argument in the previous round, where I explicitly articulated the stance that “it is absolutely important to have basic literacy." That is diametrically opposed to what he is claiming I’ve allegedly said. I urge him to read my argument more closely before responding in future.

Even though I only have to satisfactorily negate the resolution to win the debate, I have offered alternative courses of action to tackle the issue that would not only be more effective, but also obviously more just and sensible. One solution I have proposed is to institute a more robust legal system with sufficient checks and balance, since the rule of law is critical for ensuring fair and able governance. Yet, Pro has conveniently ignored all of the points I have raised.


Re: The Arbitrary Standard of a Graduate Degree

It is important for me to draw the audience’s attention to the glaring fact that, even after three rounds, Pro has yet to offer any justification for the standard he had posited, i.e. a “graduate degree.” One of my main objections to the resolution—that it unfairly disqualifies the overwhelming majority of the population from political office without even considering other merits or qualities that can potentially outweigh the facile standard of Pro’s “graduate degree”—remains unchallenged.

The only interesting thing Pro said in response to my point here is to malign me of being a flagbearer of “illiterate politicians”: he writes, “Its okay to have minimum educational qualification requirement for IAS, IPS, IES etc but we must have illiterate ministers, is it so?” For the last time, I shall reiterate: no, I do not support illiterate politicians who fail at the most fundamental and rudimentary tasks and operations required of any reasonably capable politician. Conversely, my argument is grounded on the principle that there is absolutely *no reason* why an individual with honor and integrity, passion to serve the people and defend their rights, and sufficient education (formal or otherwise) to discharge his political duty, should be unfairly precluded from serving as a politician just because he had not satisfy Pro’s highly arbitrary criterion.


The Deplorable State of Indian Higher Education

Pro has failed to respond to any of my arguments delineated in this section.

(a) Higher education in India is not only prone to corruption, but a large fraction of graduates don’t even possess basic communication skills and reading comprehension. Therefore, a “graduate degree” means a lot less than what Pro superficially takes it to be. Perhaps he should think about how to raise the quality of education first, before assuming that anyone with a degree can magically become a good politician.

(b) The class divide. This is remarkably important, given India’s already highly stratified social hierarchies. Concentrating power in the hands of an even smaller number of elites is potentially disastrous for the average Indian citizen.

Since Pro has chosen not to rebut my points, please extend all my arguments for why a graduate degree is a terrible gauge of one’s political calibre.


The Affective Divide

Pro has not responded to the dangers of alienating the citizens from their political representative, a scenario that will only be exacerabated in India if he wants an exclusive group of privileged elites wielding power over Indians who are poor, uneducated, and with dismal access to other basic necessities.

Instead, Pro writes, “I would like to state that most of the Scandinavian countries have high literacy rate up to near 100%” and that the Scandinavian government is consequently functioning better than the Indian government."

I am not sure what Pro is trying to prove here. Since Scandinavia’s population is (close to being) fully literate, it’s nothing more than a necessary consequence that all their politicians are literate. Pro achieves nothing by comparing a country with a fully literate population with India, which has the largest number of illiterate people. If anything, this only gives more weight to my point that the resolution is misguided because Pro’s suggestion assumes the efficacy of education of India, whereas in fact education itself constitutes the most urgent problem as I have shown. Moreover, he is again making a case for literate politicians (as he has hitherto been doing in the debate, but is entirely irrelevant to the resolution), not politicians with a graduate degree (which is what the resolution is all about).


Therefore, the resolution remains negated. Back to you :)
Debate Round No. 3
Mitraputra

Pro

You have been constantly stressing on the point that Graduation is an arbitrary standard, now you suggest "it is absolutely important to have basic literacy." what do you mean by "basic literacy" this is completely subjective, as to some basic literacy can be defined as capable of painting ones name, at least my graduation was able to put up a specific standard. Hence I don't think you have the right to call it Arbitrary anymore. You mentioned "sufficient education to discharge his political duty" that's exactly the point I am talking about. To discharge ones political duty one must be educated enough, now you failed in setting a specified bench mark which I successfully did.

You have mentioned that large fraction of graduates lack basic skills, now I have already answered this in my last argument. I said that there will always be incapable fraction of people, but that doesn't mean we should overlook the capable ones. I have said before, and now I must say again that not every graduate has to be a minister, not every graduate is an IAS or IPS.
Please read my arguments before you start writing, otherwise you will render this whole debate meaningless.

Now who told you only small no of elite people get education?? Government is providing free education up to school level, then college at minimum costing as well as providing scholarship. Education is a result of dedication and willpower. Like its said in the movie Ratatouille "Its not that anyone can be a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere."

Do you really think a person with Graduation degree can never understand a person without one? The question of alienating doesn't arise. That Singapore Parliament you mentioned must have had many other reasons, because Singapore it self has literacy rate of 97% and at high standard of education so the alienation of ministers with commoners can't be a result of difference in education between them.

The main argument has never been opposed by you. I have said again and again that Uneducated members of parliament are influenced by shrewd educated ones there by rendering their opinions valueless, all those who elected them their democratic right valueless what about that? I have said that from the very beginning and I take a firm stand on my belief that Education and educated politicians can make a difference in this country.
hiroki01

Con

I would like to thank Pro for his contributions to an engaging debate.


Before voting, I urge the audience to revisit the resolution of this debate, which reads, “To be selected as a Member of Parliament in India one must at least be a graduate.” I have contended that Pro has absolutely no interest in this resolution, and has been arguing for “To be selected as a Member of Parliament in India one must be literate.”

Both Pro and I agree that literacy is crucial for a capable politician, and I seriously think few people would even think of opposing the stance that “all politicians should be literate.” Unfortunately, this is peripheral to the resolution of this particular debate.

Pro has attempted to mend this fatal flaw in his argument by half-heartedly suggesting how the two – literacy and having a graduate degree – are effectively equivalent. Yet, it should be undoubtedly clear that they are not. UNESCO’s definition of literacy is the "ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, compute and use printed and written materials associated with varying contexts… allowing individuals to participate fully in their community and wider society." [8] Based on available statistics, India had a literacy rate of 74.04% in 2011 [9]. However, only 1% of the Indian population holds a graduate degree. Given that graduates are an incredibly minute subset of all literate Indians, all arguments Pro has advanced in favor of literate Indian politicians, whilst important in themselves, are entirely irrelevant to the resolution of this debate.


The reason I attacked Pro’s standard of a graduate degree as “arbitrary” is precisely because he has not furnished any argument to show how a graduate degree is the most ideal and reasonable standard among the various possibilities (primary education, secondary education, homeschooled, technical education, etc.). Without any justification, he asserts that his “specific standard” has “successfully… [set] a bench mark,” when it’s little more than his own opinion.

On the other hand, I have repeatedly called into question the effectiveness of the “graduate degree” as a workable benchmark of how suitable an individual is for political office. Pro responds to my skepticism by writing, “there will always be incapable fraction of people, but that doesn't mean we should overlook the capable ones.” This only reinforces my point. Pro agrees that people should be appraised and selected based on how capable they are, which calls for a more complex set of qualities than something as frivolous as Pro’s arbitrary standard of formal education. My intention of raising India’s poor quality of tertiary education and the rampant corruption of universities is, precisely, to demonstrate the remarkably tenuous correlation between having a graduate degree (in India) and possessing the qualities of an excellent politician.

Pro continues by quoting from Ratatouille, “its [sic] not that anyone can be a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere,” yet he insists on disqualifying 99% of the population from serving the people by virtue of his whimsical criterion. I don’t think he has truly acknowledged the alarming exclusivity intrinsic in his very proposal.


The reason for having raised the affective divide in Singapore is to illustrate a highly likely scenario that would result from insisting on exceptional educational qualifications for politicians. The majority of the members of parliament in Singapore, and especially those in the Cabinet, have graduate or even postgraduate degrees from top universities around the world such as Harvard and Oxford. Their Prime Minister is a Cambridge graduate. Nevertheless, the average Singaporean is highly disillusioned with the governing authority’s capability to satisfactorily represent the people’s interest. The polarization between the governing authority and the governed in India will only be accentuated if Pro’s elitist proposal is passed as law.


Conclusion

Pro concludes the debate by reiterating his belief that “educated politicians can make a difference in this country.” I share his optimism here. Yet, as I’ve emphasized, he has not sufficiently fulfilled his burden of showing how a graduate degree is the ideal standard of education. Neither has he taken seriously my various objections, which include: (i) the fracture between his idealized conception of higher education and true state of higher education in India today; (ii) the consequences of political elitism and stratification; and (iii) the potential affective divide between the government and the people. Further, Pro has failed to consider how many passionate, capable candidates with the right qualities would be unfairly denied the chance to even apply for political office if they happen to be in the 99% precluded by his “blanket” proposal.

The resolution is therefore negated.


Thank you.


Sources:
[8] http://unesdoc.unesco.org...
[9] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Mitraputra 3 years ago
Mitraputra
It was a pleasure debating you hiroki01. Looking forward to another debate with you in future.
Posted by hiroki01 3 years ago
hiroki01
@Tophatdoc: I did not mean to be condescending by saying "the resolution is negated." It's just a technical expression to end a round in any formal debate by reiterating which side of the resolution one is arguing for. I apologize if it came across as rude.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Tophatdoc 3 years ago
Tophatdoc
Mitraputrahiroki01Tied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con provided a stronger argument making the case that politicians should not be required to be graduates. I would ask Con to stop saying "The resolution is therefore negated. " It sounds a bit condescending but I won't dock the Con for conduct points this time. Con wins source point. Good luck to you both in future debates.