A lot has been said and a lot has been written about the issue of OBC reservations in institutions of higher education in
. And now, when the World Cup fever has gripped the world, I finally choose to write on this wasted topic. Absurd? Well, last night I was reading the interview with the Dean of Student Affairs on Scholars’ Avenue, and I can’t help sharing some comments. India
The dean’s stance was as expected. He chose to stay away from figures and showed full support for the government. I don’t blame him as an individual. He is a government stooge. But if the deans and directors of all the IITs and other institutions came together and voiced their true thoughts, it surely would make a difference.
However, there is something else that bothered me more. I was browsing through the comments posted by students, and that is what really disappointed me. Except for a couple of them, the comments were anything but constructive. It reminded me of this article that many of my friends from Kgp had forwarded to me. After all that has been happening, the outrage about Arjun Singh being the chief guest at the upcoming convocation in KGP is natural. But dissipating the anger in form of swearwords doesn’t help. It doesn’t lead anyone anywhere! You would expect the so-called “cream of the country” to be great thinkers.
People have suggested demonstrations and mass boycott. There was this one suggestion about everyone applying for Degree in Absentia. It would be simply beautiful if students were to come together and make this happen. No ill conduct, no rules violated, yet the voice of the students will be heard.
Before wrapping up, I’ll share some random thoughts on the reservation issue. It’s obvious that if something should be done for uplifting the backward sections of the society, it should be at the primary education level. Here are some things that could be done:
1) The pay of primary school teachers could be hiked to attract more qualified people toward primary school teaching.
2) High school teachers could be encouraged to volunteer to teach some classes at the primary level.
3) This may sound crazy, but it actually makes more sense to have quotas in the primary and high school level in public as well as private schools rather than to have quotas in places of higher education. True, most good private schools are in the cities and the majority of the backward population is from villages. But this way at least the poorer sections in the cities could benefit.
4) Coming back to the issue of quotas in colleges and universities, we want the government to be able to specify timeframes at the end of which the quotas will disappear and to stick to these targets. It shouldn’t be difficult to come up with these targets given that the quota issue has been experimented with for decades now.
Of course, there lies the fundamental question whether quotas in colleges have been or can be of any help at all. And to answer that, I can ask another question that arises from a simple analogy. How much did
benefit from the policy of restricted trade that lasted for decades? India
I can go on and on. That’s the reason I was refraining from writing on this topic all this while. :-) Comments are most welcome. If you find any of my ideas faulty or half-baked, please elaborate your views.
On a final note, the hatred generated amongst various sections of the society as a result of these recent happenings is depressing. So is the prospect of the caste system staying alive (with renewed importance) for many years to come.