Acting affirmatively


By

Neerav Nagar
Lecturer (Finance)
St. Francis Institute of Management and Research
Mt. Poinsur, S.V.P. Road, Borivali (West), Mumbai-400103
 


Finally, India Inc. has come with the proposal to support affirmative action enlisting steps like paying stipends to students from backward class, imparting training on entrepreneurial skills and imposition of cess on corporate profits to fund elementary education. However, they have made one thing clear that they will not accept any quota of jobs in the private sector. This seems to be a very well thought out strategy as in the absence of these initiatives, Government may force them to reserve jobs for people from backward classes, which may adversely affect their operational efficiency.

This should serve as a food for thought for the elite institutes in India imparting technical and management education particularly IITs and IIMs, who are also opposing the proposed reservation policy of the Government for the students from backward classes. As we know that students desirous of getting admission in these institutes have to clear entrance examinations viz. CAT, IIT-JEE etc. and there is cut-throat competition for achieving this.

What these institutes should do is to be a mean as well as the end. Rather than giving the direct admission to these students from disadvantageous section, with concession in marks secured, these institutes should help them in cracking these entrance examinations. These institutes should organize pre-examination training courses for these students. These courses have to be very similar to what being offered by training institutes like IMS, Brilliant Tutorials, Career Launcher etc. These training institutes provide wholesome training which helps in tackling not only the written examinations but also subsequent selection rounds of Group Discussion and Personal Interview. However, they charge hefty amount which only well-off students can afford to pay and thus, others loose an opportunity to practice well.

IITs, IIMs can utilize their rich experience in the field of education and impart these courses at the cost or even free by leveraging their cash reserves. These courses can be short-term with duration ranging from one month to three months and these being offered at different centres across India, where their entrance examinations are held. In fact similar approach is being followed by majority of the Public Sector Banks during their recruitment for the posts of clerks/probationary officers, with training classes being held before the examinations. Though this will entail additional administrative efforts from these institutes but still it is better than providing reservations at the cost of merit. Further, such an initiative will also be fair to the students from general category, who toil hard to get admissions after spending huge amount.

This will help in creating a level-playing field for all the students irrespective of their caste and economic well-being. Even students from disadvantageous section will support this action as they will be proud of getting admission though their hard work rather than a Government policy. These classes will also help them in their personality development. Also, Government will take this initiative very positively and may not ask these institutes to enforce reservations.

IITs and IIMs should remember that they have been established by Government and they cannot overrule boss's wishes. What they indeed do is suggesting their boss, various alternatives like these, how are they going to implement them and how is it going to benefit the masses, with a clear message "We have reservations for meritorious students".
 


Neerav Nagar
Lecturer (Finance)
St. Francis Institute of Management and Research
Mt. Poinsur, S.V.P. Road, Borivali (West), Mumbai-400103
 

Source: E-mail July 25, 2007

         

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