WE have licensing regulations in the country, allowing people to work in various occupations. Some professionals, like medical doctors, engineers and lawyers, can have direct negative consequences for public, therefore, for individual and public protection, only licensed professionals are allowed to practise.

While licensing brings economic implications and varied growth, other technical occupations, like electricians, plumbers and vehicle drivers, are given due importance. For state employment, there are restrictions based on age, gender, geography, education, equity, diversity, and any other element reflective of the setting.

In contrast, public office holders are elected based on their political affiliations when people vote for any person in their respective constituencies in the name of the so-called ‘leaders’ of political or religious parties. What kind of skillset or mindset is brought to public office in such cases?

Is there some sort of a syllabus that each political party membership or independent nomination needs to undergo before being tried for an office? Are there any compulsory competence-based set of curricula for the members and office-bearers within political parties or independent nominations?

I may not be aware of any such trainings that may exist, but would like to recommend that educational commissions need to be consulted to form independent bodies to monitor the participatory and assessment regulations strictly with repeat testing and refresher courses for anyone who takes up a public office, like advisers or ministers, president, prime minister, chief minister, etc.

This could be the first step towards preparing politicians and political fieldworkers to properly engage with people to recognise and solve their problems and be their representatives in the real sense of the word.

Amna Siddiqui
Karachi

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2022

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