Can Quotas Really Improve India”s Education System?

Posted on August 13, 2012 in Education

By Karan Goel:

Be honest! Tell me what is the first thing that comes to your mind when I tell you this: You have a serious illness, and need to be operated upon and right when you are in the operation theatre, you get to know that your surgeon did not even qualify for his medical entrance exam, but became a doctor only because of his “backward caste”.

Now picture this: the building you are in has been designed by an architect who scored a 0 (yes, zero!) in the qualifying exam to get into a college. Yet, because he belonged to a minority caste, he became an architect.

If you think this just a rant based on fantasy, read this report. 22 of 78 students in Andhra who scored 0 in Engineering, Agriculture and Medical Common Entrance Test (EAMCET) will get admission in engineering and agriculture courses as they belong to SC/ST category.

A couple of months ago, some 2600-ish students from Delhi, including me, took the entrance exam for Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology. I personally got a rank of 540 and wasn’t even called for counselling. Another student, belonging to the OBC category, ranked 2300 and was given admission. 2300 out of 2600, and admitted to one of the best new colleges in India. I don’t think anyone can believe that a person getting a rank of 2300 is better than the one getting 540.

I just don’t get it. How is reservation helping in building a quality, educated population? And most of all, how is it abolishing the caste system? By printing and asking for the caste of a candidate on an admission form, the government in not trying to remove caste system. It is just elevating the issues surrounding castes and discrimination based on castes.

It is definitely not a topic of discussion as to what quality of ‘professionals’ these reservations are producing. So should there be reservation? Yes. Should it be based on the religion or caste of the concerned person? No! Reservation will be useful only when it’s done on the basis of financial status of a person. If government is reserving some seats for financially weaker students, it does make sense.

Second thing to note is that reservation in higher education is absolutely unnecessary. If a student belonging to a minority group has been given admission in an elementary or secondary school based on reservation, he has been given a chance to be at an equal platform. If the student still needs reservation to get admission to a college, then maybe he/she doesn’t deserve that education.