In 1971, quotas were probably necessary. But times have changed
A country’s development is based on several parameters. Out of those, the most significant is the development of the youth. Today’s youth is responsible for carrying forward the achievements of the present generation into the future.
The recent anguish and outcry for a reform in the quota system by the students is symbolic of where our country stands in the eternal march to progress.
Quotas are supposed to be a system to ease the path for those merit-based candidates who might face challenges in entering the job market, or in getting admission to university due to socio-economic limitations. It exists to ensure equal opportunities for all.
However, it should not be a deterrent for other deserving candidates. Nor should it be a stepping ladder in achievement level just because a candidate belongs to a minority group.
If the intention is to build diversity in our skilled pool, then the system should focus on developing our education system from basics. We need to impart awareness in concerned communities, to treat girls as strong individuals and educate them to the extent that they can be on an equal footing with men.
Quotas are a conciliatory option. Society makes up for the lack of attention certain groups have received over the years. Minority groups should have all the services available to them, just as regular citizens of the country.
For the physically disabled, it may be logical to provide a quota. But more importantly, there should be more trained teachers and facilities to teach those who need special attention in every aspect of their life, not just in the job department. Communities should be taught to accept and recognize their special needs.
It’s definitely our responsibility, and honour, as citizens to look after the families of freedom fighters, for whom we have earned the right to voice our opinions or pen down our thoughts. Nevertheless, quota reforms in this parameter are an absolute necessity.
Perhaps the amount could be reduced, or perhaps a family can receive a quota once. As we head towards becoming a developing nation, we cannot justify our contribution to equality just by allocating quotas when basic infrastructure requirements are not met.
Many have commented that the outcry started from students who did not belong to the privilege classes. They came from parents who invested in them, and were expected to bring about a development in their family structure.
They had dreams and one or two specific ambitions in life to sustain their family’s expectations. Over the years, they worked to achieve their dreams, and but met dead ends and became fenced by the quota system.
If hundreds of students are protesting against it and are confident that they are being deprived from achieving their desired goal, then it’s a concern that the administration needs to reflect upon
Their protests and sentiments should be heard.
Quotas should be temporary, and designed on need, when and if required. But if hundreds of students are protesting against it and are confident that they are being deprived from achieving their desired goal, then it’s a concern that the administration needs to reflect upon.
We have had district quotas in a country of 64 districts, based on five parameters. Scholars claim that no other country in the world has so many quotas.
In 1971, after the war, quotas were probably necessary to combat challenges and bring about an even distribution of opportunities to all. What was needed then may not necessarily be applicable now. If the country is on its eternal march to progress, why are we opting for lenient ways on the search for true proficiency from such a pool of talent?
In this competitive era, quotas may not be the right way to bring about a unified and diversified talent pool in governing bodies in our future. It should be the nurturing of skills and a firm attitude that brings about the best for our country.
Political manoeuvering should not act as a diversion in this issue. Concerns should be identified and sorted out without delay, with whatever reforms are acceptable for both the parties.
Years back, the birth of this country was based on a student movement for freedom and justice. Heed should be given to such attempts to call out the flaws in our system. They should not fall on deaf ears.
Mahzabeen Faruque is the owner of AAVARON and has worked as a brand manager in multinational companies.