Reservation and Capitation Fees-Two Sides of the Same Coin?
The Government of India has put forward a proposal to implement 27% reservation in IITs, IIMs and other universities for higher education. Last few days have seen a lot of protests against this by various student organizations especially in Delhi. There are a lot written against this in press and in blogs. Before I proceed further let me make one thing clear-I am against caste based reservation in this present form.
The system of capitation fees in professional colleges is equally bad as cast based reservations. People who are against caste-based reservations argue that it will divide the country further on religious ground. Why do the same people don’t criticize the capitation fee system as it also divides the country based on haves and have-nots.
The NIT’s (formerly REC’s) is one of the most prestigious educational institutions in India. Students have to work really hard in 12th grade to get admission to NIT’s. But few seats are earmarked as Non-Resident Indian (NRI) quota. Even if your rank in the entrance exam is very low you get admission in NIT just because your parents/ancestors have money. If NRI quota can exist in institutions like NIT, then I don’t see anything wrong with the caste based reservation. For me both are the same and both need to be abolished. A computer engineer from NIT in NRI quota or OBC quota doesn’t make any difference, doesn’t make sense?
This makes me remember one incident that happened when I was an engineering student. I studied in N.S.S College of Engineering, Palakkad. I think it was in 93-94; there was a big strike by SFI (student wing of CPI (M)) against self-financing colleges and capitation fees. There were hunger strikes, burning KSRTC buses, throwing stones on government vehicles etc and this was led in our college by the son of the then CPI(M) MLA from Vamanapuram. He got a seat there in management quota by paying capitation and he led the strike against capitation!
A girl in a family I knew in Trivandrum got over 5000 rank in Kerala Medical Entrance exam. Her parents are working in Malaysia and now she is studying in one of the medical colleges in Central Kerala. Her parents gave 25 lakhs as capitation fees. People who get even 800th rank can’t get admission and this girl just because her parents are NRI’s got a medical seat. Isn’t it ridiculous? Won’t this divide the society?
One argument for capitation fees is that cost of higher education is very high, the management needs money to keep the high standards. The money from NRI quota offsets the money needed by the management. I believe this argument is absurd. Another way to do it is to increase the fees and simplify the bank loan procedure so that students who can’t afford to pay tuition can get loans. Anyway one cannot remain jobless after passing out from institutions like NIT and can easily pay that off.
NO MORE “CASTE” BASED OR “MONEY” BASED RESERVATIONS. BOTH DIVIDE THE SOCIETY.