While addressing higher education in India, things like knowledge, skill enhancement, research, teaching, learning, books, infrastructure etc are secondary issues. The primary concern is who gets what based on one’s caste. Though, the caste-call is a main feature not only of Higher education and technical education… but also in all aspects of Indian life- Politics, Jobs, House Allotments, Govt Plans, Schemes, festivals and so on!
Here, we are citing a burning example of Higher education as it has practically less related with caste-capabilities and more related with learning process. Entrance tests and admission criteria are skewed based on caste and categories. One poor Brahmin student with higher scores cannot make in best universities of India but a rich Dalit student can get through with less marks. This arrangement is not only discriminating the poor Brahmin, but also depriving the poor Dalit. The greedy people are ripping all benefits of reservations while needy still perish in poverty. Since it is easy to get sensitized the mass on caste basis, political class and intelligentsia cleverly made it the panacea of social-justice.
A gross violation of Human fundamental rights is taking place by such arrangements, but we are used to these situation and we say , ‘Aal iz Well’ to please ourselves or to please our politicians from whom we expect ‘another’ favour (Local Goons, Ration card or protection) or for some ‘Jugaad’ (Job, Tenders etc) or power-share arrangements (SC-Brahmin Coalition of UP).
Selling our soul and votes is very easy in India. So, in Indian Higher Education as well, only ‘candidates’ of VC, Head or MLAs, MPs get the teaching posts while much qualified candidates are bound to work as clerks or even security guards. (Some of caste-PhDs at JNU also demanding reservations in these jobs as well)
Owing to initiatives taken by Indira Gandhi in form of criminalization and Mandal-ization, caste-call has become the most effective tool to sensitized the folks and mobs. Arjun Singh did it in 2006 and defiantly, it added to congress’s vote bank, even though reservations in Higher Education are taken away by those who are already well to do by rest of all population. This fact was testified, when the naxalite sympathizers student organizations, AISA, DSU, and leftists SFI and congress student wing NSUI, BJP student wing ABVP opposed university administration for form fee hike. Administration offered free forms to those who belong to poor families. And you know what? Not a single form was taken free on this criterion. The fact was exposed! Rich families are taking Higher Education benefits and these families do not deserve any kind of quota.
Since vote hungry politicians wants caste groups in their side, everyone was in race of demanding more reservations for OBC – left-right and middle (read it confused) congress. Even they attempted to murder on a student who was among the opposition organization called Youth For Equality.
Families of those crazy 70 Gurjjar, who died during the movement of demanding reservation, would never be able to harness any fruits of reservation! 5 percent is enough for Captains, Majors, MLAs, MPs, government officers and well to do people among them. We have a live example of SC reservation, few thousands of families taking all reservations while poor SCs along with poor non-SCs-STs-OBCs are alienated from education and employment.
The opposition of reservation legally died when Honorable Supreme Court followed the government shoe setting aside the questions that it earlier asked! But Higher Education remain a political tool for government. Last attempt was the inception of deemed universities, which was exposed with huge frauds. Any profit making entity enters into education sector, will try to maximize the benefits. Education has forward and backward linkage with society, culture and economy. While maximizing profits, none of private entities will take care of those responsibilities. This is why we see only engineering, medical and management are prominent among these ‘educational-enterprises’. Some of them also have economic in name of social sciences, which is another earning subject. So, are these few course comprise of Higher Education? Or it is a long lasting policy to make educated clock bound workers who can only think of money all the time.
After such experiments, government is going for foreign university bill. This step is complementary to its quota gambit and private universities plan. Why a foreign university will open office here in India? - to maximize their profit! Already Indians are paying billions of dollars in UK, US, New Zealand and Australia. With skewed structure of the courses they offer, it will be a big mistake to see them as agents of quality improvement of Indian Higher Education.
Even on this existing framework, the existing faculties IITs and IIMs will be attracted through higher pays and facilities by foreign universities. And these globally esteemed government institutions will lose their importance and contribution to Higher Education with second class teachers and more quota and juggad. The state and central universities are already fallen on the matter of faculty recruitment, the favorite of panel get the job while other candidates complete the formality of interview in 30-45 seconds. Best example: Delhi University and colleges.
These issues remain unanswered to us and if still we are saying ‘Aal iz Well’ our future generations will feel sorry about our dumb attitude and insensitive thinking about knowledge, society, culture and self-pride.
What can be done in this regard? The present form of governance leave no scope for civil societies or public opinion to intervene into such matter and government is sole authority to decide everything on every issue, even if the matter has long lasting impact on people life. This control could be easier by appointing supportive judges at Supreme Court. The commission and inquiry committees are made of further ascertain of government intentions. Best examples are Mandal Commission, Sachhar Commission, Mishra Commission and so on. The aware and vocal intelligentsia is easily pacified with academic appointments and powerful postings. The remaining media and their poster boy/girls will always do, whatever the government tells to do so. Thus, the governance system is authoritarian in many aspects, and governance design is made to rule India with full ‘iron frame’ control as predecessor British rule did.
In this situation, we are left with very less options. In short term, we have to educated ourselves about the issues, analyze the motives of ruling political party, and propagate it among educated masses. And in long run, we have to sensitized the electoral intervention among the politically sleeping section of the society.