A great Article by Atanu Dey as usual. I will refrain from entering the never ending tirade that this reservation issue has become. I will rather dwell on areas of the article that he has touched upon but has failed to take further than a mere passing mention. It is possible that he intends to touch upon these issues in details in his future posts. In which case let this post serve as a check list.

A few quotes from the article followed by my take of the issues at hand

My interest in education is not merely academic. I want to transform the current system, which is outdated, outmoded, irrelevant, inefficient and ineffective.

About one hundred thousand go to coaching classes and of these about 5,000 make it to the IITs. The 95,000 who don’t make it have to lump it, and some even take the extreme route of killing themselves. Why? They realize that their parents have spent money they could not afford to send them to coaching and they failed their parents. 

 … they are often not spending time and resources to understand the subject or because they like it, but because they want to do better in the admissions test than their competitors. Instead of producing thinking, cooperating humans, the system forces too many to focus on a narrow objective and to develop a maniacal zeal to study for a test that is more of a test of narrowly defined skills rather than an overall test of fitness to pursue higher studies. This exercise, I am sure, damages many students’ personalities so that they become anti-social and un-cooperative.

What is clearly evident in the above quotes is that there is a basic flaw not in the education system, but in Indian culture itself. This mad rush towards an education in premier institutions is driven not only by shortage, but also by cultural and peer pressure.  The problem in the Indian society is the lack of opportunities outside of a couple of highly attractive fields. Peer pressure drives every young mind on a single path. A child that might be exellent in the field of the arts, is not encouraged to follow his or her desire. So if you are relatively good in your school years it is assumed that you will pursue a career in either engineering or medicine. No wonder there is a shortage!

There is an inherent computer engineering principle – ' If there is a contention for resources, then distribute the load!'  What the education system in India needs is a massive load balancing exercise. The need of the hour is to create opportunities in areas other than engineering and medicine. And this load balancing needs to be done right from early school days. I have come accross many a bright student who was a great singer, sportsman, and artist. Most of these students gave in to peer pressure to join the gold rush! Had these students been encouraged at an early stage to follow a career path that accented their talents, things would have been a lot different.  But the current educational and cultural system that India is, does not provide a career path to these individuals, or if it does, the competiition is even more cut throat, and driven not by talent alone.

So, Mr Atanu Dey, if you want to "transform the current (education)system" do something that attacks the root of the problem. The current issue with reservations is a mere symptom of the underlying problem.

Imagine if there was no need for reservations. Where people do what they love doing, and feed themselves and their family while doing it. Where one competes not with one another but with oneself. Where education makes wonderful human biengs and not merely great employees!

Maybe the reservations is actually a boon in disguise. Maybe the students that cannot get into premier institutions will sit back and reflect and follow their hearts for a change. Maybe, just maybe, this will actually help bring about a revolution that this country so badly needs!

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