Political Issues in Higher Education and Leadership
The present world is dynamic in various perspectives related to economic development, political stability and international affairs. As 21st century has paved ways for globalization, the trade barriers are eliminated. This development is paving ways for promotion of international culture and national identities are at stake. With increased globalization and free movement of people from one part of the world to the other, the values and trends have become so diverse that individuals no longer hesitate to quote the precedent from some other country or culture.
The phenomenon is complex in nature and giving birth to many issues. One of the issues is related to higher education and leadership. As media has become powerful and people are aware of the developments and advancements taking place in any corner of the world, the major political issues are rising on global as well as national platforms.
This paper is about the political issues raised by higher education in the context of leadership. The paper revolves around the implication on leadership as resulting from the application of higher education. The main problem is related to higher education level described as eligibility criteria of the leaders. Particularly speaking in the content of political leaders, this eligibility criterion is creating many problems in developing countries where education is not common and hardly a few people get the university education.
There are many people who believe that leaders should be highly qualified while there is a lot who prefers leadership qualities to higher education. The latter group ignores the essence of education and fails to link it with the notion of personal growth and development. People delink potential from higher education ad consider it as innate characteristics of a person. It may be true for ancient times, but in this era of globalization and technology adoption, higher education and technical knowhow has become an important requirement.
Before going into the details of political aspects of higher education in relation to leadership, it is important to define higher education. The next section casts light upon the concept of higher relation in relation to political leaders.
Define Higher Education
Higher education is commonly referred to university level education which is more than 12 years of schooling. Only degree programs are included in higher education. Qualifications like diploma, certificate, and other vocational and technical training are not part of higher education. It is because, these may be done on part time basis, while higher education s formal education requiring full time and effort of students.
Masters level education is imparted in universities all over the world. There are certain institutes which are ranked as colleges but have affiliation with universities to issue Bachelors level degree. Hence, university education starts from Bachelors. In the modern era, which is the fastest era in terms of development and advancement, higher education is considered mandatory for all citizens of any country. What to talk about leaders, they are supposed to be ahead of all the citizens, this is the reason, they are known as leaders.
Importance of higher education
The importance of education could not be denied in any period of human development and existence. But the 21st century has exalted it even further. Education is the main requirement of many employment opportunities these days. Even blue collar jobs require certain level of education and qualification. As individuals grow, they need vision and exposure. It is impossible to have vision and exposure in the 21st century without having knowledge. The reason being, 21st century is characterized with innovation and technology. Technology may not be common sense and one has to enroll in the college to understand the concepts and apply them on real situation. How one applies these concepts effectively, is largely the matter of instinct but training also plays vital role in unveiling the potential (Rees and Porter, 2008).
Higher education plays a unique and critical role in making a healthy and sustainable society. Higher education now has a challenge bigger than any other it has ever faced because humanity is at crossroads without historical precedent. The education of all professionals would reflect a new approach to learning and practice. The learning and benefit to society of higher education forming partnerships with local and regional communities to help make them socially vibrant, economically secure and environmentally sustainable will be a crucial part of successful higher education.
The higher education is important for economic development of individuals and nations alike. Research shows that in developed country, the rich people are the ones who are more educated. There is direct positive relationship between education and income of employees. There are special cases as well, in which luck paves ways for millionaires but exception cannot be made theory.
Should the leaders be highly educated?
In order to ensure sustainable economic development, higher education is mandatory. Since leaders are responsible to decide the fate of nations, they are required to have vision which is possible through education. This is the reason, leaders must be highly educated. In order to secure the fate of nation and future of national resources, leaders have to be educated.
The issue of present age is; only the qualified person is eligible to stand in elections. Since elections lead to an influential position, the powerful people tend to have this influential position more than the average citizen. It is important to mention here the rich people of present era are rich either because of their political affiliations, or rich family background or self-motivation. It is possible in all three cases that these people are not qualified. It is also possible that people love to follow these powerful people, and they are emergent leaders, yet they can't compete for the political leadership.
In order to meet eligibility criteria, the puppet system grows. The influential people search for their candidate who matches eligibility criteria in terms of education. The back of powerful people leads to success of this candidate who may have no vision of running the state matters. When he comes to use power, he has no idea how to make strategies. On the other hand, his support party also lacks vision and the core purpose of standing elections is acquiring post and power to influence the people.
Consequently, the strategies and plans fail. People start blaming government for its poor policies and government has nothing to defend itself except beating about the bushes. It adds fuel to the fire and as a result, the state conflicts increase and people start losing confidence in the leaders. The honest folk avoid discussion on the political matters and the active players are criticized as they are puppets. The fear of saving life and face also forces people to stay quiet and let the wind below.
This situation, however, may not last long. As mentioned earlier, media has become very powerful and there are many organizations working for the rights of people and democratic movements. The continuous rebellion in any country invites the attraction of media and sooner or later some transformational action has to be taken.
Is higher education a responsibility of government leaders?
It is interesting to mention here that one of the duties assigned to the leader is promotion of educational, medical healthcare and employment opportunities and facilities in the country. As the leaders approach public and serve at the levels closer to the public, the responsibility related to materializing these goals increases.
In order to ensure that leaders are concerned about the development of their followers, they establish schools and other educational institutes. Every year, the international bodies generate reports on the level of education imparted in a particular country and the number of literate people there. These reports are important as they provide guidelines for development of five years plan for the world development. The governments need to focus on educational development of their people so that they can invite the investors to utilize their skills. On grounds of educational level, the immigrations are offered and Gross National product increases.
How higher education affects leaders negatively?
There was a time when leaders' only wish was to have followers by hook or by crook. History has witnessed many leaders who used coercive power extensively to suppress the voice of their counterparts. The tendency to love power is still not over. Still there are leaders who are more concerned about influence and pay no heed to the needs of people around them.
This is the situation, when education starts affecting leaders badly. Described below are the ways which prove to be harmful to the leaders and threaten their power.
a. People Become Aware of Their Rights
Education enables the people to learn about their rights and responsibilities. Most importantly, people come to know of purpose of their existence and the goal of their life. When their vision is broadened, they start analyzing the things happening around them. As a matter of fact, the concept of implied slavery dissatisfies them and they plant o change the situation.…