1. Reservations in universities, government must realise quota is anathema to creating global class

Reservations in universities, government must realise quota is anathema to creating global class

Only three, from over 700 universities, make it to the top-200 in the latest QS World University Rankings.

By: | New Delhi | Published: June 21, 2017 6:05 AM
indian university ranking, which is the best university in india, Indian universities, university global rankings Given how few Indian universities feature in global rankings—only three, from over 700, make it to the top-200 in the latest QS World University Rankings. PTI)

Given how few Indian universities feature in global rankings—only three, from over 700, make it to the top-200 in the latest QS World University Rankings—a lot was expected from the government’s vision of creating 20 world-class universities, if only because over 2 lakh Indian students go overseas to study each year and spend over $10 billion while doing so. But the policy fell short since what was required was a complete overhaul in approach and, now, the wait for these institutes of eminence (10 government and 10 private) has got longer. Mint reports that the government has deferred the plan till an inter-ministerial group comprising HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, former HRD (now textiles) minister Smriti Irani, power minister Piyush Goyal and commerce & industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman work out a few kinks.

What prompted the rethink has not been disclosed, but Mint, citing two government officials, reports that the current design for reservation is one of the key factors behind the policy being kept in abeyance. Since there is a 50% reservation for ST/SC/OBC and physically handicapped in public-funded institutions, if the 30% cap on foreign students is read as reservation, the argument is, this leaves very few seats for ‘general category’ students. While this needs to be addressed, a more fundamental issue is of reservations being anathema to global-class, and could, in fact, be one of the reasons behind why most Indian institutions fail to make the cut when it comes to global education rankings. Indeed, the fact that students who make it to colleges on the basis on reservations still need another round of reservations, in jobs, would suggest the reservation in faculty is affecting students of the same groups the policy seeks to help. Ironically, if the reservation in faculty is accepted, if an IIM-Ahmedabad wants to be considered a world-class institution, it will have to do a U-turn on its current policy of no reservations in faculty.

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Another reason cited, by Mint, is that there is some unease about completely freeing these institutions from the UGC’s regulatory yoke—if true, this is unfortunate since, time and again, the government has spoken of the need for autonomy from regulators like the UGC in favour of a system where better colleges/universities would get more autonomy. In any case, for all the talk of complete autonomy in the original policy, the government did mandate caps for hiring foreign teachers (25%) and admitting foreign students (30%).

So, it will likely set the vision back by years if the final design were to incorporate a framework for regulatory checks, especially if they carry the levels of discretion typical in the country. The government now has a chance to set right the flaws of the earlier policy. It must start with junking the inclusion-based reservation approach and relaxing the regulatory control it has allowed itself so far. Unless this is fixed, why would private institutions that are free from regulatory yoke right now, want to agree to the restrictions that come along with the tag of being a ‘world-class’ institution? From the government’s point of view, if institutions like the IITs are freed from reservations as they come under the ‘world-class’ tag, how is it to accommodate the increasing clamour for reservations. India can’t have world-class educational institutions in the public sector till it resolves this dilemma.

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    Tenzing Lepcha
    Jun 22, 2017 at 6:14 am
    In the pursuit of getting a tag of world class.. Government cannot just remove reservations without looking into the historical background behind it. a fact the writer ignores. Removing reservation will set grounds for an indian version of french revolution.. Where the minority uppercastes will get slaughtered by the majority obc sc and st
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      ravi kumar
      Jun 21, 2017 at 11:13 pm
      Time for India to look at what has been wasted and how people with real talent has been deprived for over 7 decades in the name of aged reservations policy in schools, colleges, universities, government jobs and even in promotions ! Enough of discrimination which is being used only by the greedy for generations and leaving none for the needy in their own communities.
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        Pranil
        Jun 21, 2017 at 8:01 pm
        This the problem with Financial Express and couple of others.Not getting to the ground reality why it all started at the first place.It is because ins ution like yours who for paychecks don't even write of attrocities still being committed on backward classes.And moreover even there wasn't reservation still above mentioned figure would have gone to foreign universities.Go to any slum area you won't find any upperclass family residing there. You will only find lower people.So better think before publishing such hate instigating articles and misleading people by just giving overview.
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          Dev
          Jun 22, 2017 at 9:13 am
          And how many slum students do you see entering into the IITs. We forget the fact, that the people utilising the benefit of reservations are mostly the ones who already are well off. They study in private sxhools and big coaching ins utes and have all the resources a so called "general" candidate would have. The real needy, the real backward do not reap the benefits. Lets say a person got reservation and made a life. Now he has enough money to give his child the resources he needs to study. But his child will still get reservation just because he belongs to a specific caste and so will his children, g children and great-g children and so on.
          Reply
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          Devinder Singh Attri
          Jun 21, 2017 at 7:46 pm
          What makes an academic ins ution world class? It's the research innovation! And it's well known how much research innovation is being done at our prestigious IITS! !!!!! Again where will the research innovation come from? From People getting into these instructions on the basis of reservation ? Preposterous! !!!! Let alone research innovation, how many of IITians contribute to the nation by serving here in India after study? I don't know the exact data but I am sure not many. Students who are genuinely interested in study research, leave the country. Left behind is the reserved class scum! Getting fatty govt jobs again on the basis of reservation! !!! Every thing is topsy -turvy here in India. Having taken benefits of public /taxpayers money, studyiñg at IIT Delhi .what good is a guy doing by becoming a journalist instead of pursuing his engineering career. They are being awarded degrees for free. Why don't IITs make it compulsory for each student to undertake a project in
          Reply
          1. K
            Kapil
            Jun 21, 2017 at 4:35 pm
            Totally agree. Sc st have 25 quota in ug then 25 in pg then 25 in job . Then what left from 100 for general category in which there should be equal par ion
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              doctor without reservation fighting for post gradu
              Jun 21, 2017 at 4:02 pm
              Like every other politician, changed the topic and did not answer the question. The discrepancy to the hard working students not belonging to SC/ST/OBC has to stop. At least to a point. They get reservation everywhere: free education till pre graduation and then reservation in graduation entrance, fee concession in entrance for it and then concession in post graduate entrance reservation in qualifying mark, reservation in seats even after their graduation, reservation in jobs,etc., I think the only ins ute in India which doesn't follow reservations and takes candidates on merit is ISRO, and now that's why it's leaving the world behind with its innovations.
              Reply
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