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Degrees disaster.

I wrote earlier saying that the idea of degrees for MPs was wrong and cited, amongst others, Winston Churchill and Bill Gates as examples of world leaders who did not have degrees. Whilst my letter was mildly amusing in tone, the issue is a desperately serious one.

I wrote that the graduate MPs scheme was unsound, which it is, but the debate has now leapt from being unsound to being seriously deranged.

In your article 'Degrees plan for MPs spurs debate' (GDN, February 19), you quote Mazen Al Umran as saying that "...everyone, including MPs, should hold a degree".

Wow! He seems to be advocating a policy of graduate unemployment for the entire population. That would be interesting to watch from a political perspective.

No economy, certainly not Bahrain's, could possibly sustain an entirely graduate population. It would be a formula for such massive inter-communal strife that the consequences would be awesome. Imagine for a moment half a million or more people sitting alone in small rooms, with degree certificates hanging on the walls, reading books in classical Greek and playing computer games - for the rest of their lives - terminally bored and frothingly angry at themselves for not having the dignity to go out and do a job, any job, to earn a wage, albeit a small one.

And as they look out of the cracked and grimey windows, they see other half million sweeping the streets, scaffolding and delivering pizzas. They see people doing work which they believe to be beneath their station and. most worringly to them, these people are not Bahrainis. One of the biggest complaints being heard these days is lack of employment opportunities for Bahrainis. A system of mandatory degrees for all would increase the problem manyfold. When every Bahraini has a degree, job opportunities for them will reduce, not increase. Unemployment will balloon horribly and Bahrainisation will become an impossibility.

If there is a will to get unemployed citizens into jobs, then they should be taught simple crafts and labouring tasks, with the chance to move to semi-skilled and skilled crafts in time. Unemployed Bahrainis need practical job and life skills, not degrees, if there is to be any hope of social cohesion and peace. And parliament could lead from the front by dropping the graduates-only plan.

Runnymede

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Feb 24, 2012
Words:399
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