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Quota System: Diverting Attention From The Real Problem

were not known as we do today. Since IITs were not that well known, the competition to get into IITs was not as fierce as today. After a few years, as IITs became well known and competition became fierce, they attracted outstanding students.

This period with hindsight may be considered as the golden age of IITs. They had three factors in their favor; outstanding students, excellent faculty that had joined in the beginning and the required amount of budget. But, in recent years, IITs have started to lose two of the three factors favoring them. Faculties who joined IITs in the beginning are retiring and they are finding it difficult to replace them. Second, the government has correctly decided to reduce funding to IITs by diverting funds to primary and secondary education. Thus, the only favorable factor for IITs today is their ability to attract good students. If that is diluted under the pressure of quota system, IITs are likely to lose their shine.

Those IIT alumni who were thinking of donating funds may think twice now. Is this the beginning of the end for IITs as has happened for some outstanding educational institutions in Karnataka like Maharaja's and Maharani's colleges of Mysore?

Another question often asked during this debate is why the issue of merit for capitation fee based colleges was not raised. In fact, that was the very reason for questioning the rationale for opening the capitation fee based colleges. Private colleges that gave a majority of the seats based purely on capitation fee failed to flourish. In fact many of them would be closed if the government liberalizes higher education under the free market system. They attracted neither good faculty nor good students. None of them could do any research. Do we want our IITs to be like those failed capitation fee based colleges?

In recent years with increasing frequency the question of assessing "merit" is being asked. It is true that just scoring high ma
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