A questionable quota policy

Synopsis: Instead of providing reservations for government school students, the government should improve the quality of government schools.

Introduction

Recently, the Odisha government has proposed a 15% reservation for government school students in medical and engineering colleges. The aim is to reduce “inequity arising” from the lack of physical and economic access to coaching institutions.

What does this proposal imply?

This looks like an admission of the government that it has failed in providing quality education in schools. This shows that instead of focusing on improving the schools, the government is adopting the policy of reservation.

Read more: Maratha Reservation and the Reservation Policy in India – Explained, Pointwise
What do the statistics say?

About 62% of students attend government and government-aided schools in India.

38% goes to private institutions, some of which belong to the elite category.

Thus, it can be argued that these 38% may have access to better teachers, tuitions and classes. This, according to the government, it creates inequality.

How can the quality of education in government schools be improved?

Capacity building Programmes: Introduce programmes for teachers to implement new pedagogic practices. There should be an emphasis on language learning.

Fill vacant Posts: Teachers and staff vacancies should be filled as soon as possible.

Mindset: Change in the mindset among people and policymakers that government schools are typically backward and inferior to private schools.

Change in policies: The policy of automatically promoting the students to higher classes without passing examinations should be scrapped.

State responsibility: The state should take responsibility for improving education in government schools.

What can be the way forward?

Government should address the root cause, which is focused on school education. It should focus on improving education as part of affirmative action.

Source: This post is based on the article “A questionable quota policy” published in The Hindu on 9th September 2021.

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