Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Reservation: Only Discussions but No Solution

Apart from killing the sanctity and secularist getup of many esteemed educational institutions the reservation is intended to create a bigger problem for the people whom the government is actually trying to help. 75% of our population is SC, ST, OBC, MBC, etc. It’s well known that India can’t go ahead keeping this huge 75% of the population lagging behind. The only solution to uplift the socio-economic status of any class is to provide them with good education. Reserving only 2000 or 50% seats every year in the IITs and some more in AIMS and leading Universities for the 75% of the population is no solution at all. Just for statistics, as per 2001 census, even Bihar, which ranks 32nd in rural literacy in India, alone has 1.6 crore SC, ST & OBC students in the age group of 15-19 years who are attending schools. A simple math shows that reserving a few seats is just like emptying an ocean with a dropper. As already talked about in several discussions, the solution lies in improving the basic education level of the SC, ST & OBC students so that they can be at par with the so called better-off class when appearing for entry tests for the esteemed institutions. Even if the IITs fill the 2000 reserved seats with students with not so good basic education either these students won’t be able to complete their graduation and suffer from depression or land up with no job. So not only government money would be wasted but many other meritorious and deserving students would be deprived of their entry to IITs. Also reducing the entry criteria or reserving seats in IITs will logically urge the so called under privileged students to work not so hard.

As responsible citizens we should also bear the burden of educating the SC, ST& OBC students. I’d recommend that the esteemed institutions launch programs, in the lines of NCC or NSS, to coach a selected group of +2 students of these castes for entrance exams. Both the students and the professors should be involved in this program. The alumni should also participate. The cost of the entire program can be borne entirely by the alumni, many of whom are in leading positions in the corporate world. I believe even ½ a day’s salary of all the alumni would be sufficient for such programs, which will not only be beneficial to the concerned students, but also pacify the wrath of the socio-political activists who are fighting for reservations with vested interests. The noblest part of this program is that the participating institute communities would selflessly set precedence to something that can be emulated by other institutions. And if done properly this can work miracle in making the SC, ST & OBC students empowered and confident to sit for any other competitive exam. There’s nothing like all these students getting admitted in general category. It’s tough to say if this will obviate the enforcing of reservation. But under the present conditions this is the only thing that we can do rather than just indulging in discussions or nation wide movements which can turn violent.

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