Reservation in Academic Institutes
India has been trying to reform its higher education system for more than a half-century but the results in terms of systemic change have been minimal. The universities have expanded dramatically to meet the demands of an increasingly powerful middle class although resources have not been adequate to ensure the maintenance of standards. In India’s bureaucratic environment, political will to change the universities has been inadequate. For these and other reasons, the mainstream of Indian higher education, now including 7,000 colleges and 150 universities serving more than 4 million students, suffers from deteriorating standards, occasional unrest and inadequate resources. However, at the margins of this seemingly unmovable system have been a variety of significant changes and reforms. The Indian Institutes of Technology, for example, provide high quality post-secondary education. Even within the traditional universities and colleges, some interesting reforms in curriculum have been successful in limited areas. This analysis points to the factors inhibiting reform and change as well as some examples of limited successes. But an issue which raises concern over the path that will lead to this success, is reservation for the lower caste into prime institutions.
The caste system has always haunted the progress of India, throughout its history. And now the e system faces the same crisis. The classes of people who seek reservation in institutions argue that without reservation they will not get admissions into good institutes and the people from the general category will take all the available seats. Strange to hear such words from the same people who also seek an equal status in India. This two faced attitude, is a matter of concern, as these people may use their reservation in an unfair way yet demanding an equal status. What about merit? Should not people from all classes get a right to enter institutions without reservation purely on the basis of being Indians? And if we add up all the so called under privilege communities, the general category will look as the minorities! Then who shall seek an equal opportunity to them?
An easy way to tackle this issue is to firstly increase the number of student uptakes by institutes, so that the horizon of uptake for meritorious students irrespective of any class in these institutes increases. Secondly the government take a serious look at its reform policies, and abolish the caste system altogether or else this menace may spread to other systems in India. Just imagine if one starts asking to pass a policy wherein 25% of the positions in the Indian cricket team for the minorities! Isn’t this a ridiculous thought? If you feel yes, then apply the same logic to education and other administrative institutes, and you would get a rational idea on the issue of reservation in institutes.