Friday, July 11, 2008

Congratulations on flushing education down the toilet

Read the following article and please for the love of God explain it to me

HRD orders faculty quota, IIT directors livid

I think it was sometime in the early '90s - I was 7 or 8 and I remember a group of college students broke into our school in protest. I have very vague memories of the incident but remember being told that it had something to do with reservations. It didn't make much sense to me then and a few years after that I moved out of the country thus never really felt the effect of reservation. But as I've grown older and seen how this phenomenon has spread I wonder where it will end.

Don't get me wrong. I am all for inclusive growth and I agree that in India perhaps the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting left behind. But the amount of reservations in the top institutions of India is shocking. Plus when it comes to inclusive growth shouldn't it be based on economic condition as opposed to caste. Yes now there is the whole 'creamy layer' thing but there are so many loopholes in there. Is it really fair that some people have to work so much harder to get into the same colleges just because of being born in an 'affluent' caste - where it could very well be that their parents in fact are not that affluent. Anyway, forget all that - that is an old topic that will never die down, but this article today makes my blood boil. Must affirmative action be carried so far that the education of the country's youth be jeopardized.

What is this new ruling if not that? To start a quota for backward classes in the faculty of the IITs? Could anything be stupider? The IITs have built such an incredible reputation for themselves of shaping some of the brightest minds in the country. People all over the world respect you for being an IITian. And what is a college if not for a great faculty? Is that possible when spots in the faculty (including tenured professors) are given out based on caste? FIFTY PERCENT OF THE FACULTY!!!

I am not saying that there are not great candidates for the roles from this group of people. But will it not be that the deserving ones will apply through the general slots (just like they do as students). And that means that half of the people who are supposed to train the future leaders of the country are not competent enough to do so. What sense does that make?

Explain this to me. I understand that spots are created in undergraduate classes for the underprivileged as they have not had access to the same resources (at the same time I reiterate that these should be based on your economic condition). I then question why there must be reservations in graduate degrees - haven't both X (from a scheduled caste) and Y (from a non scheduled caste) been given access to the same education thus giving them the ability to compete on even ground. But no. Here too X must be given an advantage for whatever reason. Ok I will let that go too. Here's the big question pertaining to the faculty. X got into an IIT thanks to reservation and did ok but not enough to get into a graduate degree on his own merit. Thus X once again applies to get a further education once again through a quota.

At this point X has had 8 years of education with the same 'privileges' that Y did (while Y perhaps had to work that little bit harder to do well enough to get into that graduate degree based only his academics). How then does it make sense that X must be given priority for a faculty position? In these 8 years any difference between X and Y has been wiped out hasn't it? Aren't they at least now equal and shouldn't they be treated equally? In the name of affirmative action, why must Y suffer? What has he done that is so wrong? Will it be that some time in the future Y's children and grandchildren will need the quota because Y lost so many opportunities thanks to reservation? Or is it then surprising that Y decides to give up on the country altogether and leave?

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