Home » Y Khemchand’s educational qualification brews both aspiration and vexation

Y Khemchand’s educational qualification brews both aspiration and vexation

by Rinku Khumukcham
0 comment 3 minutes read

When Smriti Irani was appointed as Union human resource development minister in 2014, activist and long-time Narendra Modi supporter Madhu Kishwar wrote on her Twitter handle: “Just discovered HRD Smriti Irani failed in class 12 exam twice. Third time she got right royal 47%.” However, the negative remark did not come just from her; criticisms had already begun to snowball from citizens across the country. The exact topic erupted in Manipur when former Manipur Legislative Assembly speaker Yumnam Khemchand was offered the Education portfolio. However, not many political opponents lobbed criticism at him despite thousands of netizens on social media platforms. Earlier, people overlooked his credentials when he was the speaker, but people have now dug out his qualification, which turned out to be a 10th-grade pass only.
Unfortunately, there is no minimum qualification required to be an MLA, and they are eligible to become a minister or even chief minister. The same applies to MPs who are eligible to become Union Ministers and Prime Ministers. We, the people, want well-educated representatives for a sound democracy. But the truth is that setting a minimum qualification would sabotage democracy because only 8.15% of Indians are graduates as per the 2011 census. Thus, criticizing a representative based on qualification will invite both positive and negative responses; the debate will continue.
The last BJP-led government’s education minister SorokhaibamRajen Singh hit the headlines for his unexpected and daunting English-speaking skills coupled with some ludicrous remarks, which he displayed in many government and political events. Not long ago, he even announced that those who voted against him had lost their rights to the government’s entitlements – a statement people didn’t expect from a representative – at least from a former education minister. As a result, there were anticipations that the new government headed by Mr. Biren would choose a well-qualified lawmaker as the torchbearer of Manipur’s education system. But, unfortunately, Biren did as oppose to people’s expectations prompting SorokhaibamRajen to pass the baton to a less-qualified Khemchand.
The move stunned electorates compelling them to think about what the successor would do to reform the system. Though people are not much of a critique, political analysts and scholars would definitely dissect the outcomes of the new minister’s works continually. However, given the work he had accomplished in his constituency, people now expect that he would do at least better than former education minister S Rajen. In addition, he must also recall that academics and students had welcomed PM Modi’s decision to snatch away the HRD portfolio from Irani in 2016 during the reshuffle. Sooner or later, Khemchand might face the same treatment from Mr. Biren, regardless of his contribution to uplifting the sector. Th. Radheshyam was a concrete example.
No matter the ability of a legislator to govern and execute the required tasks, our intuition will always want Manipur’s education minister to be well-qualified. But, that’s not in our hands now. Some forty days ago, Election Commission had already asked us this question by making the educational qualification of each candidate public ahead of the election, but our answers seem to not have a deal with our wishes.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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