Reservation and the real problem

Posted by in Asha for Eduction, India/Kerala, Society

The story about the reservation saga continues in India. I am sure this will also whimper down like the Mandal Commission protest in 1991. The problem is that there is a problem in India – and we are no where near a solution. Neither having reservation nor not having them will solve. While I personally am against the concept of using special coaching for preparing for entrance examinations (and I did not use them for my preparations for my Engineering entrance!) the following story – forwarded to me by a great mind from Bihar – does show the kind of solution I think we need. And again it is not about starting something anew – but rather this should happen in each and every school in India. That for me would be a solution. Everytime the concept of resservation is talked about – it is self defeating. First because it is accepting the fact that the schools are not up to the mark – they are not delivering what they have to, and secondly because by either lowering the entrance requirement or by forcing uninterested candidates to take up courses we are lowering the overall quality of education. But then in today’s India – I have to say very few are really keen on working hard like the example below shows. Very few indeed. And that is the crux of our problems!

‘Don’t ask us our caste, look at IIT’s merit list today’ :J P Yadav PATNA, MAY 31:Today was a special day at Super 30, the Patna institute which helps students from Bihar’s poorest families clear the IIT entrance hurdle without charging a penny. Twenty eight of its 30 students qualified, including Devyanshu Jha who stood 10th on the All India merit list, and nearly 60 per cent of those who made it are from OBC homes. As reported by The Indian Express earlier, Super 30, run by mathematician Anand Kumar and police officer Abhyanand, is all about competition, no quota. “Why do you want to know whether I am an OBC? I have not availed any reservation to clear the IIT entrance,” said Abhijeet Kumar. Most students are from the state’s interiors and never discuss caste. But Pranav Kumar, Anand’s brother who manages the institute, said: “According to my estimate, around 60 per cent of the successful students this time are OBCs. The numbers seem to be rising with every Super 30 batch (this is its fourth year).” Three of the 28 who got through belong to the Scheduled Castes. Manish Prasad, the son of a school teacher in rural Vaishali’s Patepur, was fumbling for words to thank his teachers. An OBC, he ranked 2,963 on the merit list. Most OBC students have dropped their surnames. “I am a Yadav. If I use my surname, it gives the impression that I have come through quota and not merit. So I dropped it,” said Santosh Kumar, son of a farmer from Bihta. His All India rank is 3,537. In this year’s batch, there were also some boys from well-placed families. Abhijeet Kumar’s father is a leading doctor and he could have paid for his classes at any other coaching institute. But he chose Super 30. Devyanshu Jha, who ranked 10th All India, is the son of an engineer. “Yes, this time some students are from well-to-do families. But our criteria has always been only merit,” said Anand Kumar. Abhyanand, an ADG in the Bihar Police, said conditions at the institute are such that students from affluent families usually stay away. “Why will they come here when they can afford a better institute?” he said. But Chief Minister Nitish

Kumar thinks otherwise. Excited over Super 30’s success story, he has contacted the institute. “Nitish Kumar spoke to me. He said he will discuss this in detail

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and explore the possibility of establishing more such institutes for the poor,” said Anand Kumar.