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…I am totally anguished by the politicization of the entire reservations business. just because Senor Arjun Singh wishes to score political points off Dr Manmohan Singh is no reason to bastardize the entire education system in the country.

It is bad enough that nearly 60 years after Indian independence, the oppressed and deprived class continue to toil in misery and hopelessness. Worse is the insouciance of the ruling classes that tends to opine that reservations (in higher education and in jobs) is the only form of affirmative action that needs to be tried out.

Why dont these people ensure basic physical safety, sanitation, and primary education, for these poor-est of the poor? I have seen classmates at the IIT that came in through the SC/ST reservation system – 90% of them did not deserve to use it since their respective fathers had used the same system before them to rise to the top rungs of their own public sector jobs! Unless this creamy layer is contained, and the realization sets in that deprivation applies to so-called forward castes as well when they live in poverty, no affirmative action program will be effective.

Most wonderful is Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav’s munificent offer to reserve seats in colleges for the so-called forward classes based on percentage of the population…

Go ahead, dilute educational brands that have been developed over the past 40+ years in a single diabolic stroke of the political pen.

While travelling in the US, almost every Pakistani I met (and there are several of them, all very nice to know, etc) had come there for under-graduate studies (since the college education system in Pakistan has totally collapsed after Bhutto successfully politicized the campuses in the 1970s). Indians seemed to typically come there for post-graduate studies.

Give the devils here in India a chance and I am sure this ratio will change – and an increasing number of even middle-class parents whose children do not get through to a premier college will start sending their offspring, and a whole boatload of foreign exchange, abroad to educate them in the US and Australia and elsewhere, and fund US and Australian universities and the education systems there.

Eventually the best faculty will be disheartened about teaching at the so-called temples of learning in India and avoid taking up employment there, in the same way that abysmal salaries and work conditions are keeping the best and brightest away from becoming school teachers.

This will be the death-knell of our much-vaunted education system. Talk of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

…and a solitary vocal voice in support…

Kaiser said…
There is no use in reserving seats in educational institutions .It would lead to dilution of standards set by these institutes. Rather the government could start strengthening the primary education system for these less privileged classes. Reserving those jobs and seats is like putting cart before the horse

….it is my belief that open economies prosper.

I am sure history will bear me out on this. When a society or nation prospers, it attracts talent from all over. A large part of the talent infusion is of semi-skilled or unskilled persons from nearby lands coming over for a better living – a smaller but significant proportion is of inherently smart people coming over for better opportunities.

The semi-skilled and unskilled segment help meet the needs for labor for the more mundane tasks. The talented/educated lot help sustain these successful economies through the cycle of continuous innovation required to keep them at the forefront. Without this infusion of talent, one is left reliant on regurgitated ideas and thoughts and this is the death-knell of any civilization.

The English civilization from the 17th through the 20th centuries, the French civilization, the German dominance of the early 20th century, the US domination from the mid-20th century and even the ongoing emergence of China has all been characterized by the infusion of new talent into the economies. Perhaps the only significant recent boom economy that has been the exception to this rule is Japan – while they did borrow from Deming and more, and while Nissan did gain from the induction of Carlos Ghosn, there has not been the usual infusion of large numbers of expatriates into the Japanese economy.

I was reading a Goldman Sachs projection (“Dreaming with BRICs: The Path to 2050”, 1st October 2003″) where they spoke about China and India as the leading economic powers in 2050 AD along with the US. I have a feeling the analysts have gone overboard yet again with their projections – akin to the dot-com boom era of the 1990s. There are so many flaws in the Chinese and Indian socio-economic structures yet that the jury is still out in my opinion.

Unless China and India can each demonstrate the economic freedom, social equity and access to comfort and security that has been provided by the US, Great Britain, western Europe and even Hong Kong and Singapore in their respective hey-day, they will not emerge as a magnet for top-notch talent.

The education systems need to be strengthened to not only cover the under-graduate level education but also for graduate studies. In addition, there is a need to raise the overall IQ of the colleges – the standards fall off rather dramatically after the premier institutions. Finally, can India and China ensure that the female child is not punished for her gender. The gender ratios in the two countries is already atrocious and this kind of an imbalance is unhealthy to say the least.