Luczon: Raising the bar of elected officials

FORMER senator Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr has suggested that higher educational qualifications of those who will seek elective positions in the government should be required, should a new constitution be made in order to pave way for federalism.

Under the current Constitution, as long as the person can read and write, he or she is eligible for seeking public office through elections.
Pimentel's proposal on a higher educational attainment, which implies more than just a college degree, was not new as he was already suggesting this even before in various occasions.

However, former Supreme Court chief justice Hilario Davide thought that these educational requirements were "undemocratic" citing that public office is for everyone regardless whether an official finished schooling or not.

If we still live in a post-World War era, having public officials not graduating in school level can still be acceptable. But for a nation that claimed to value education as key to success, and over the decades literacy rates are improving (at least majority are graduates in elementary level), requiring an minimum educational attainment for public officials should be non-negotiable.

After all, those non-elective government workers and officials working in the government agencies require minimum educational attainments. Some government workers continue to study graduate and post-graduate degrees, and undergo qualifications like Career Executive Service Officer (CESO) courses just to get promoted.

That is why imagine some disparity, and a bit if unfairness if in every elective official appoints cabinets to lead in agencies with less qualifications compared to the cabinet secretary's subordinates.

Though this whole education-is-key paradigm may not be entirely true to all, as some government officials or any person who has the capability in serving the public may provide better service as compared to those who have academic achievements.

Besides, the pressure of requiring educational background may further induce some anomalies in academic dishonesties, such as an industry called "Diploma Mills" where people just basically pay a huge amount of money in exchange for academic credentials.

Should elected officials be required to have minimum educational attainments, we should look at it that they can apply what they have learned in schools... though it becoming quite naive-sounding now.
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