Reservation In India
I think merit is a hazy concept. What we call merit need not be its worth. Our analysis of merit is biased. Our education system needs a cleansing process at the earliest. We Indians are making the bias of merit deeper by caste based reservation system. It’s becoming more and more serious. As a nation we are still ‘developing’ so what if we got independent in 1947? We are yet emerging as developing nation. Our inertia for progress is known in world.
It’s high time we take some proactive steps to curb the demon of reservation. Actually the system is nothing but a mockery. We live in a free country and this freedom is a gift of democracy to us. Our constitution gives us the right to freedom and most importantly to exercise this freedom in an equitable manner. The state is responsible to ensure that parity prevails in all sections of the society. Most reserved candidates hail from good economic backgrounds and yet they are provided with additional scholarships and the like. They enjoy all privileges at minimum qualifications. Why can’t we use the reservation parameter based on merit and economic criteria rather on the basis of caste? It’s such a joke to still give importance to caste and creeds that too in this age where people hardly about it any longer.
The point of reservation was discussed in the round table conference and provisions were made in Communal Award of 1935; it is worth a recall that Mahatma Gandhi had opposed the reservation. Dr. Ambedkar was appointed as member of Viceroy’s Executive Council and he submitted a memorandum titled ‘on the grievances of the schedule castes’. The schedule castes were allowed 8.5% reservation in central services and other facilities for the first time in the history of India in 1942. Let’s not forget the reservation system was to be followed for limited time, but our politicians have used the tool for their own benefit, for divide and rule and for creating ‘vote banks’.
What we need to examine is does India really need reservation today? What the reservation system hopes to achieve? What about equality of opportunity and sovereignty? Number of disadvantaged people who have access to education and jobs; how many people benefit from reservation every year? Are those beneficiaries genuine? Has reservation changed anything in terms of caste distribution of the poor? Has reservation system improved quality & educational performance? What is the future of reservation? The Government has to own responsibility of taking some firm steps in this regards. Government cannot play ‘Robin hood’ at the cost of the national wellbeing.
Abolition of reservation will help diminish the frustration and discouragement level among the deserving candidates. Reservation system has corroded the merit of the society. Undeserving teachers, undeserving researchers, undeserving engineers and doctors have spoilt the social fabric already. Because of the reservation the middle class is the worst sufferer. They can’t beg and they have no doors to turn to; any chances of reservation for them?
The past century has been exemplified by a massive worldwide educational expansion. Lot of innovation has taken place in most parts of the world. Each nation is struggling with increasingly complex economic challenges and these challenges can obviously be faced with logical and scientific educated workforce. Moreover, in a globalized world culture, developed nations are calling shots and developing and under developed nations have to rely on buying outdated patents from the developed nations. It’s shame on us that we are piggybacking on reverse engineering and outdated patents from the West. Educational expansion is the need of hour. While we need explicit affirmative action in the education, we first need to suspend thorny issue of reservation from the system. We have been diluting the essence of education since long.
Rote learning has plagued our system so much that students study only to score marks in exams. Marks are everything. Students can go to any length for the sake of marks. Poor quality teachers please students by giving undeserving marks. Reservation has played havoc; we have the most undeserving academicians and administrative heads in the most significant posts in the universities, colleges and schools. This is how the entire educational system has gone to the dogs. The colonial masters introduced education systems in India to create clerks and civil servants, and we have not swerved much from that pattern till today. If once the youngsters prepared en masse for civil services and bank officers exams, they now prepare to become engineers. If there are a few centers of educational excellence, for each of those there are thousands of mediocre and terrible schools, colleges and universities that do not meet even minimum standards. The entire system is being dragged by terrible inertia and corruption.
Let us at least be aware that our education system is terribly flawed; we do not care for the originality of a student. Memorizing only gets marks. Thinking is discouraged, risk taking is mocked. Look at those pathetic PhD theses in most state run Universities – students have earned PhDs by cut, copy and paste from Internet and many have earned PhD by changing only titles, rest is somebody else’s work.
Our testing and marking systems need to be built to recognize original contributions, in form of creativity, problem solving, valuable and original research and innovation. If we can do this successfully Indian education system will have a positive change overnight. Thousands of terrible teachers all over India are wasting valuable time of young children every day all over India. Their thinking and questioning is killed at the primary level of schooling itself. They are killing the very learning spirit of the students. Appalling teachers are producing appalling output from schools, colleges and universities. These youngsters are not fit for the jobs. The industry is demanding creative and innovative youngsters but, we are unable to provide them. Therefore, our labor pool is also of poor standards. We have created a vicious cycle and we need to break it as soon as possible.
In my opinion, we need to redefine our education system by deregulating the rules and regulations. We have the biggest number of engineering graduates in the world, but that certainly has not resulted into much technological innovation, why is it so? Rather than producing some world-class products, we are busy running the call centers of the rest of the world in which we are using our engineering students. What a pity? How many entrepreneurs as a nation have we produced? The goal of our new education system should be to create entrepreneurs, innovators, artists, scientists, thinkers and writers who can establish the foundation of knowledge based economy rather than the low-quality service provider nation that we are turning into. We will soon be labeled as ‘call center nation’.
We are seeing big number of politicians and corrupt autocrats entering the education sector to hide their black monies. These people are earning hefty profits from education; yes, education is a big business in our nation. These shoddy educationists are amassing hefty profits through clever structuring of fees and donations and thus sidestepping the rules. The loopholes in the system are such that people are making money left, right and center. There is an urgent need for effective de-regulation of Indian education sector so that there is combination of sufficient capital and those who provide or create extraordinary educational products or services are effectively rewarded.
Coming back to the reservation point – we need to use the rationing system; though this is not a permanent solution. If we want to emerge as a country built on a knowledge economy, and drive it by highly educated people, we need to make high-quality education universally available so that reservation will lose its meaning automatically. We don’t see reservation in online education because it depends on scales. You can access to the notes and lectures online of the top universities of world. Already many students are opting for various courses online. Virtual classrooms are the future of education and I think this is the how we could beat reservation and make it insignificant. Let’s accept that merit and creativity has no caste, creed and gender.