Sunday, April 30, 2006

Reservations and quotas - a new solution

The decision to "reserve" seats in colleges and universities for backwards classes is making the Indian summer even hotter for students, their parents - and the government. The problem is that everyone is still too focussed on the problem - how does one carve up the limited number of seats in a fair and equitable manner ? At present, the problem is that there are too many students chasing too few seats; and no matter what solution we come up with, it's bound to be unfair to the group left out, who are going to be resentful. Also, no one seems to think of the human cost of depriving a student of an educational opportunity he wants to pursue. Also, the students who do not get an education can no longer contribute as effectively to the economic growth of the country - which means everyone suffers when seats are "reserved". I feel that instead of thinking about problems, we should concentrate on solutions. I have an alternative perspective, which is worth considering.
Why not increase the seats in all the courses, so that everyone who wants to enroll can do so ? Instead of offering "brick and mortar" colleges and universities, make them all online and deliver the educational content through TV and the internet. Everyone who wants to enroll can do so , because it's as easy to teach 100000 students online as it is to teach 100 students. Students can then form their own study groups; and are free to explore additional educational opportunities on their own, if they so desire ( tuition classes, real-world teachers, and so on). The key is that there will be a really difficult examination which will be given at the end of the course - and only the ones who pass this will be entitled to graduate.
I feel this is a win-win situation.
It does not deprive anyone of the opportunity to pursue further learning, if they so desire. This is only fair and just.
Many students will drop out on their own, when they find they cannot cope, or they don't like the subject. This will not hurt them or cost them - they can then puruse alternative options.
Many more students will be able to learn using this model - and the pool of bright, educated citizens in this country will grow progressively, so that we all can do better in the future !
Can you think of any downsides ?

1 comment:

  1. Guys, let us start a revolution. Let there be 100% Reservations! Let there be a new parallel education / job system, where the students / workers, management and even the friggin sweepers are appointed with reservations. And let there be 0% reservations in all the other institutions.

    The time the OBC etc is born, he will have a certain admission into the reservation education system. He can study till whatever time he wants to. The teachers too are 100% from the reservation cadre. The reservation student after completion of his studies, will have an assured job in the Government. After all, didn't Nehru say that another purpose of the Public Sector was to generate employment?


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