What if politicians were to take a public services exam?

Based on the pontifications and not-so-intelligent remarks we’ve been watching, listening, and consuming on the social media, I’m pretty sure 3/4th of the politicians out there won’t make it through the simplest of public services exam. And that’s not just due to the thorough preparation needed but also the minimum level of intelligence and emotional quotient that’s required to clear the assessments.

Of course, I’m no one to judge but if as a citizen I have to experience and maybe even suffer through the consequences of poor governance, then why not? Also, I believe one of the ways we can improve politics is by putting barriers to entry. Right now, there are none, which isn’t great because we fundamentally don’t have a filter at any level!

Implementing selection systems in place will encourage the common educated man, particularly the youth, to consider politics as a career option. And as one of the fastest developing nations on this planet, we desperately need more youth leaders. That can only change when we make the battlefield fair and open to all. I view competitive exams as a great equalizer — it attracts the youth, the educated, and whets out the most qualified of them.

Yes, I know, exams and/or scores aren’t the most accurate way to assess one’s intelligence. But we know from experience that the thousands of civil services and public services candidates who make it to the top have the potential to be great administrators. And guess what? They’re running this country just fine. It’s the governance, the figureheads above them, that are creating all the chaos out there.

I’m not suggesting we skip elections. They’re required but the narrative changes from voting for the most popular to electing the most qualified of them all. You can argue this will dilute politics (what an oxymoron!). Or that politics by and large should be open to all citizens regardless of their education. Which, I must say I agree with but this idea has got less to do with education and more to do with one’s qualifications. If a construction worker or a tea-stall owner is hardworking enough, they can gain access to great education, prepare for an exam, and clear them with flying colors. I’m cocksure many civil servants have done it, why not politicians?

Listen, I’m apolitical and I could care less about the affiliations or reigning parties but I’m a thinking being who’s neither blind or deaf. I believe the country needs a change and could benefit from radical ideas that haven’t been implemented before or just sound plain ridiculous!

The worst is when you receive a meme (the most useful information source for apolitical folks like me) or watch someone’s WhatsApp or Instagram story on some politician saying something stupid and you go, “who the hell let these people run our country?” And in comes the reply, “we did, bro.”

By Sunil Nair

Nurturing leaders of tomorrow.

%d bloggers like this: