Possession of a degree is less important than intellect

Terence Netto

Modified 19 Mar 2019, 4:19 am

COMMENT | The recent brouhaha over the authenticity or the lack in the tertiary qualification of deputy foreign minister Marzuki Yahya did not dwell on what is assuredly a more important requirement for public office – possession of intellectual ability.

You may be educated to university level but not have intellectual ability, just as you may intellectual power without having attended university.

The distinction is not tendentious: The tertiary-qualified person can tell you what he or she knows in the order in which the person has learned it, along projected lines of logic; the one with intellectual ability is able to illuminate principle with wide knowledge.

The one can show you the way around a building; the other, looking out the window, can tell you what's coming up round the street corner.

In the upper echelons of public policy formulation, the possession of a bachelor's, masters or doctoral qualification is not as important as the possession of intellectual power.

One may have emerged with distinction from university courses but that does not guarantee the possession of intellectual power.

Indeed you would have to go through a university to acquire intellectual ability, but that 'university' is more likely to be the one defined by the English historian Thomas Carlyle as “a collection of books”...

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