Sunday, February 29, 2004

Is a college degree necessary for a president?
Debate with Pareng Oca and Mareng Winnie was talking about the above topic two nights ago. One person from the FPJ camp defending the dispensability of a bachelor's degree pointed out that Bill Gates and Nelson Mandela were college dropouts.

I was shocked by the claim. Nobody in the other panel corrected the inaccuracy. Bill Gates was a dropout, but Mandela definitely was not ! He was practicing as a lawyer before he was sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to the notorious maximum-security Robben Island Prison.

In his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela was a little defensive about his academic achievements, pointing out in numerous instances that there were too many classmates who were far brighter than he was.

Mandela may have had some academic rough-sailing in his time, but he never dropped out of college. True, he was kicked out in one university, but it was for his political activities. He persevered in his education, even enrolling in a correspondence course.

A college degree is not necessary to be meaningfully qualified to be president. I just wish people defending this position would not go around blaspheming Nelson Mandela all for the sake of propping up FPJ's candidacy.

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