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Quota System: Diverting Attention From The Real Problem

rks by attending four or six years of coaching classes cannot be considered as merit. We need to develop a better system of assessing the merit even if it is less objective. However, just because we do not have a foolproof system and perhaps we may never have one; we should not commit another blunder of selecting students based on their accident of birth. Let us stop dividing and subdividing society based on caste.

Another relevant issue discussed during the quota debate is the need to solve the social justice problem of helping SCs (Scheduled Castes), STs (Scheduled Tribes) and OBCs (Other Backward Classes). No society can prosper if it does not solve these types of social problems.

In the United States, where blacks and Hispanics are in the minority, they needed affirmative action programmes to help students from those communities. However, because of the constitutional constraints, they have not been able to take recourse to a quota system. Still, they are handling the problem with some sensitivity and have zeroed in on this problem by improving primary and secondary schools.

It is a well-known fact that our government schools, which are educating the children of poor SCs, STs and OBCs, have collapsed. Nearly 40 percent of the children attending these schools are unable to read and write even after being there for two to seven years. About 80 to 90 percent of the students joining these schools are unable to complete high school education and only a minuscule number are able to go to colleges.

This problem should be on the national agenda of all the political parties. They should consider establishing thousands of schools like The George Foundation at Shanti Bhavan near Bangalore to give world class education to SCs, STs and OBCs. Even after 59 years of independence, we have not been able to give primary education and simple learning skills to these strata of society and now we are keen to admit them to higher educat
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