By Sunil Garodia
Till now, we had some students at premier educational institutes of higher learning like the IITs and the IIMS who would not have been there just on merit. They got through the quota system despite there being other, more deserving, candidates. It was accepted as the repentance Indian society was carrying out through legislative measures to rectify the discrimination that the Scheduled and other backward classes and the Scheduled Tribes had suffered for ages. Although the system is not perfect leading to some among the underprivileged cornering the major share of the benefits, it has continued due to pressure from vested interests and vote-bank politics.
But to extend the same to teachers at these institutes is a disastrous idea. IITs and IIMs have made a name for themselves internationally and their students have made an impact mainly due to the quality of education being imparted in these institutes. That, in turn, is due to the fact that the appointment system for teachers is strictly merit-based and the norms are very tough. Only the best among the applicants qualify to teach at these institutes. These teachers sometimes junk lucrative corporate careers for the love of teaching. If now, we were to bring in reservations for teachers, and if the norms are relaxed for this, the quality of education is likely to fall drastically at these institutes.
This is not to say that there are no good or qualified teachers from the SC, ST or other backward class pool. But the objection is against relaxing the norms for their appointment. If these people, after so many years of privileged treatment, still cannot compete with their peers on an equal footing they do not deserve to be appointed in the first place. The best that the government can do is to instruct the IITs and IIMs that other things being equal if there is a candidate from these categories, he or she should be given first preference. That would be a just solution and not very damaging to the quality of education being imparted in these institutes.
image courtesy: askIITians.com