All entries for Wednesday 24 May 2006
May 24, 2006
A disastorous decision – one that will cost India dearlyThe Indian Legislative committee has just approved a law that will guarantee seats to 50% of the lower caste communities in India's state funded colleges and universities. A worse decision could not have been made.
The government is approaching the issue in completely the wrong way. Instead of focussing on the key issue of providing more education facilities so that more people can be educated, al it has now done is to appease the poor in India by guaranteeing them seats no matter what their merit. That is absolute rubbish. I can understand that money can help richer students prepare better for universities so up to a 20% reservation of seats for poor people is acceptable, but reserving seats for castes is the worst political decision this government has taken.
Not only does the government now acknowledge that there IS a caste system, but it is also encouraging people to allign themselves to a particular caste so as to benefit from it. Instead of taking the mature route of non discrimination it has taken the immature and insensitive route of discrimination. Why is it not just possible to have a means tested ecucation system? Now the rich will just end up bribing officials in some caste committee to allign themselves to a "Backward caste" so they can get in and in the end the poor will not benefit anyway.
University has to be merit based. By taking in anyone from anywhere it just compromises the quality of the education provided at an institute. It makes people want to allign themselves to a caste for no good reason on top of that it takes away any incentive to study at all! why study if I can get in without doing so? Why should the middle class of any country be punished? My parents worked their butt off to get where they are, and instead of punishing them one should make it easier for poor people to do better at school rather than making it easier to do well in life without working for it at all!
Whats the solution ? Same as in the UK – Privatize education! If the government is going to be authoritarian and stupid when it comes to important decisions then the best decisions should be left to the market. The elite institutions of India are all state run and state funded, once private universities with decent professors and facilities start to spring up, they will definetely attract the brighter students and in doing so will take away value from the brand names of the top institutes. At least the government cannot control private institutes in a democratic country! (Thank god for that)
Yes – I acknowledge that poor people have a lower chance of getting into higher education and so entry should be reserved for them. This should result in means tested entry and NOT entry based on a worthless and vile caste system that does more harm to India than any other major social concern. Instead of just reserving entry how about building more institutes so that demand equals supply? obviously there is a net excess demand in India for higher educaton that is causing a problem. Private institutes will definetely help ease the burden on the government and will also help give employment to the hundreds of millions of Indians.
Nonetheless I have complete faith in the market system and I believe all education should be privatized for the good of society. More money means more scholarships and especially if entry is means tested it results in everyone paying the right price for education. Free education is never fair education because some people will always benefit more than others. Instead if everyone payed fees according to what their family can afford, it does indeed become a lot fairer.