`Expanding the reach of institutions will help in attaining excellence'
ISEC organises Rajotsava Extension lecturePremier institutes have reached out to only two p.c. of the population
Bangalore: Education in India continued to be treated as a commodity best left to the vagaries of free market, said M. Veerappa Moily, Chairman of the Administrative Reforms Commission. He was speaking at the Karnataka Rajyotsava Extension lecture on "Knowledge Society and Caste based Reservation", organised by the Institute of Social and Economic Change here on Tuesday.
The consequences of such a policy was visible in the fact that the Institutes of Technology and Management (IITs and IIMs) had managed to reach out to only about two per cent of the population even after they had been left on their own for many years, he said.
As a result of this kind of exclusion, those who could not get into the IITs and IIMs went abroad for education and the country ended up spending two billion dollars every year on such migration, he said.
"When equality is breached, the State should step in," he said and added that the Union Government could not withdraw from the field of education when it (education) was still in its infancy.
Mr. Moily spoke about the recommendations of the report of the Oversight Committee. He said that expanding the reach of educational institutions would lead to inclusion of more number of people and eventually to attaining excellence.
To achieve this, the report had recommended that additional seats be created in educational institutions without affecting students applying under the category of general merit, he said.
The report had recommended autonomy, setting of threshold limit for admissions and release of Rs. 17,724 crore to educational institutions to upgrade infrastructure, he said.
As a cautionary note, Mr. Moily said that though the consequences of reservation on society were permanent, reservation could only be a temporary solution to ending social inequities.
He called for a change in the mindset of people towards reservation if the country were to become a knowledge society. Meritocracy should not be considered a privilege of a few, he said. "People still treat those who are pro-reservation as villains," he added.