Stop obsessing over reservations in higher education, start worrying about the future

Stop obsessing over reservations in higher education, start worrying about the future

The Union Cabinet approval for promulgating an ordinance to restore the 200-point-roster system may have been the most electorally significant decision in what was billed as possibly the last Cabinet meeting before the Model Code of Conduct comes into effect. This system considers the entire university as the basis for apportioning faculty vacancies between general and reserved quotas. It was struck down by an Allahabad high court judgment which ruled in favour of the 13-point system which assesses vacancies at the departmental level.

OBCs, Dalits, and Adivasis point out that the latter reduces vacancies in reserved quota and were upset forcing the government to petition SC but to no avail. With SC rejecting review petitions government was forced to take the ordinance route given the frequent agitations and parties like RJD and Congress repeatedly raising this issue. But there was a more fundamental crisis that was eclipsed by the passions the issue evoked.

For nearly a year, public universities and colleges were unable to fill vacancies because of the court cases. The government said over 5,000 recruitments were stalled as a result. Instead of overhauling higher education to meet the challenges of the so-called fourth industrial revolution where many jobs will become redundant, India is still obsessing about caste reservations. We are in grave danger of being left far behind by the rest of the world. Both public and private universities have to step up and address the issue of quality and outcomes. Sadly, this is not a priority for politics or society.

Courtesy : TOI

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