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Current Affairs Education General

The Reservation System: A Disgrace or A Necessity?

Photo by Alfred Quartey on Unsplash

Reservation systems occur in various countries like Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. It is available in slightly modified forms in MANY other countries—the policy of affirmative action in the USA, Brazil’s vestibular policy, quotas for Swedish speakers in Finland, and so on. The idea behind all these initiatives is pretty much the same. They aim to give racially discriminated groups additional numbers in order to ensure equal representation. 

What is the reservation system?

Reservation is a system meant to provide historically disadvantaged groups representation in education, employment, and politics. It involves a process of reserving a certain percentage of seats for certain groups perceived as availing lesser opportunities than those more privileged. It aims to empower them and ensure their participation in the decision-making of various important sectors. 

Putting the reservation system into perspective 

Let’s say you want to read more about the implications of the reservation system. Or about the green star. What would you do? Maybe run a quick search on any search engine, read TutorHere blogs, or the likes.

What if your internet is down? Maybe a quick run to the nearest café. And if you live in an area not very technologically advanced, maybe a pit stop at the library to read up on it. Either way, you use to access resources more easily available to you. 

Growing up, not all learners have access to the same amount of resources. Some have access to resources that have very little (or even no) value, as such. Some individuals from these disadvantaged communities come from homes that aren’t used to dreaming or having goals. Homes were becoming a doctor or an engineer seems like a dream just too good to be true. Or they just struggle due to a general bias against them in a specific society. 

Enter the reservation system. 

The reservation system sets aside a specific quota for these groups. Or takes these disadvantages into account so as to give them more opportunities. However, the big debate revolving around this is if it takes away the merit from ‘merit’. 

Researvation: A discredit to merit? 

The criticism against the reservation system has a few points of argument. To quickly break this down and give you an overview, the reasons include: 

  • Reservations generally benefit just a small fraction of the groups intended to benefit from it 
  • They tend to make these groups feel inferior, less motivated to work hard to achieve their goals, and create animosity between the groups that don’t have a reserved quota 
  • It perpetuates division and further makes the demarcation against these groups clearer 

Summing up, the argument against reservation focuses on the fact that trying to provide opportunities to support certain groups is in turn, fueling this division that disadvantaged them in the first place. It also gives room for politics to come into play and create animosity from those who have a higher merit score but can not get a seat. 

Reservation: An opportunity to dream? 

There are also quite a few points speaking for the reservation. And a brief look at these include: 

  • The reservation system quotas aren’t filled with those meant to benefit from it. Thus, this could be a sign that we need to work on the system
  • This protects the supported groups from privatisation of educational institutions and contractualisation of employment 
  • Reservation systems helps the social and psychological integration of these various groups 
  • Reservation is merely an entry criterion and does not compromise on performance of the individual 

Overall, it’s an argument that privilege stops us from really understanding what the reservation system is aiming for. Studies also show that “gains in learning are higher in elite institutions compared to non-elite institutions.” So while the reservation system may not be the solution to discrimination, it could be a temporary makeshift until we can improve our systems of education to ensure everyone has access to equal resources. 

reservation as an opportunity
Photo by Alexis Brownon Unsplash 

Conclusion 

Many countries still continue to debate the implications of the reservation system. While some struggle to keep it in place, others think it to be a disgrace to economic progress. However, the question is, if the economic progress is substantially benefitting all (Read more on the importance of education for all, here).

As usual, the takeaways from this article are entirely yours. What’s the verdict? The reservation system – A disgrace to modern society or a necessary plow to even the playing field? 

Categories
Current Affairs Education Government

Critical Race Theory in education: A deal-breaker or not?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The NYPD officers approached a man on suspicion of selling cigarettes from packs without tax stamps. The man tells the police that he is tired of being harassed and that he didn’t have anything to do with cigarette sales. The officers attempt to arrest the man with one of them, Pantaleo, placing his arm around the man’s neck and wrestling him to the ground. With multiple officers pinning him down, the man repeats the words “I can’t breathe.” 

Now, this may be a phrase that we have become familiar with. However, for those not entirely sure of this particular incident, this victim’s name is Eric Garner. Soon after this, Garner lost consciousness and was declared dead about an hour later 

If I ask you what you would assume Garner’s ethnicity to be, what would be your first guess? 

Because if “African-American” comes to your mind, you already know where this blog is heading. 

Racism isn’t a new concept—it is the bias against a specific racial or ethnic group. It also includes the distinction between various groups so as to identify them as inferior or superior. Now, the Biden administration in the US is attempting to spread awareness about the same in high schools through a widely-debated subject: Critical Race Theory (CRT). 
In this blog, we will look at the inclusion of racism studies in education and the debate that surrounds it.

Critical race theory
Photo by Clay Bankson Unsplash 

Critical Race Theory – An Introduction 

The Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been making an appearance in media and debates quite often, recently. So, what exactly is it? 

The theory says that race is a social construct rather than a product of individual bias or prejudice, and yet is something embedded in legal systems and policies. An example of instances that led to the framework or CRT is how in the 1930s government officials drew lines around areas and deemed them as poor financial risks. The main reasoning behind this being the racial composition of inhabitants, which meant that banks refused mortgages to these residents. 

 A related concept is a casual racism. The ‘Challenging Racism Project’ has documented Australians’ experiences of racism since 2001. The most common experiences of racism reported are interpersonal interactions.

Name-calling and other racist insults are also common. These racist events make people feel like they don’t belong to Australia. And this includes people born in Australia or whose ancestors have lived in Australia for millennia.

The USA shows 57.6% of all hate crimes with motivation being race, ethnicity, or ancestry bias. Thus, CRT is just an attempt to put things into perspective, since hate crimes and casual racism are prevalent in most countries.

Additional Resources on Critical Race Theory

The Big Debate 

Let us now look at the arguments presented for and against CRT being a part of the school curriculum. The ones who support this say that the theory asserts that racism is a part of everyday life. They assert that even people who don’t intend to be racist could make choices that fuel racism. Thus, students, the future decision-makers must have a deep understanding of the unseen form of racism to avoid such conduct. 

However, the critics argue that this discriminates against white people by labeling them as racist. They also say that it could lead to students having a self-demoralizing notion. A common argument among such critics is that teaching Critical Race Theory in schools incites anti-national thinking and behavior. Meaning, they will grow to hate their country and its policies and have a negative impression of the same. 

Now, while some states in the USA have initiated outlaw CRT in schools, the bills give room for a lot of grey areas. Some of the schools are now unsure of what constitutes as accepted syllabi and what doesn’t.

Critical race theory
Photo by James Eadeson Unsplash 

Our Take on Critical Race Theory in Schools

In short, they were arguing that CRT—with its insistence on exploring both the ideological and material manifestations of racism—could explain the important connections between race and class in American schooling.

Unlike previous studies of race and education that were merely descriptive of racist acts, policies, curriculum or teachers and administrators, Critical Race Theory attempts to explain how critical analysis of racism in education could lead to the development of new ways to think about the failure of schools to properly educate minority populations.

CRT and its inclusion in the curriculum can significantly enlarge current debates over the continuing significance of racism in education and in society as a whole. The truth is that disparity and discrimination will continue in different forms until we are willing to look beyond our decisions and not only use research to examine the effects of those decisions but assume the responsibility to enact corrections as well.

Conclusion 

We’ll let you form your opinion on this topic. However, keeping in mind educational freedom, it could be a plausible solution to present the theory to students and have them form their own opinion on it. Let students decide if they want to learn this or not. Isn’t that how we can empower our future generation? 

Categories
Current Affairs Governmental

1984 & The Emergency in Retrospective

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

The story of the Emergency reminds us of one of the darkest phases of our country’s history. How elections got suspended, civil liberties were curbed; and the nation going through a political and economic crisis. Freedom of the press was also curtailed as the government laid out some rules for journalists across the country with prescribed guidelines. All the newspapers were asked to take permission from the press advisor before publishing anything. Several human rights violations were reported at that time. Those 19-months of Emergency were an unforgettable event of hostility against democratic and civil rights. It not only rendered all fundamental rights useless but also endangered the freedom of socialists and writers. It was a complete clampdown on our constitution.

In 1984, history repeated itself. This time around though, the only cause was Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s controversial decision.

Violent extremists were raising demands for a separate country.

A radical Sikh leader, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, emerged as the face of a fledgling separatist movement. At the beginning of 1983, Bhindranwale and his supporters secured arms gripping Punjab in a deadly terrorist campaign. It generated an expression of fierce regionalism and outrage in support of the Khalistan movement- a land only for Sikhs. After many violent clashes in Punjab, the Central government issued a warrant against Bhindranwale. He then took shelter in the Golden Temple Complex in Amritsar trying to elude his arrest. With this, the plan for the 1984 operation was put into action.

The Military took over the Command to execute extremists.


1984 is considered one of the gloomiest years in modern Indian history. In June of that year, Prime Minister Gandhi ordered the military to bring an end to Bhindranwale and other militants groups from the Golden Temple complex. Sikhs interpreted it as an assault on their religion. During this operation, the temple was unharmed, but other parts of the complex got severely damaged.
Four months after the operation, former PM Gandhi got assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh on the dawn of 31 October 1984. During the court trial, they both confessed that they took revenge for the operation in their holy place.

1984’s Sikh Genocide

Her assassination set off genocidal killings around the country. Anti-Sikh feelings got stroked throughout India using government-controlled electronic media. Rumors were spread against the community. Delhi plunged into a communal frenzy. Over the next few horrific days, there were several instances of terrible mass killings of Sikhs reported. Thousands got killed, and dozens were burnt alive. Their houses got destroyed in Delhi and other cities. These mass killings over the span of three days unleashed fear, terror, sorrow, and depression among the Sikh community. Even after decades, victims are left with scars from the memories of the carnage.

Congress behind the Play

Rajiv Gandhi once said in a public rally- When a big tree falls, the earth shakes. These words were seen as a justification for the massacre.

After 46 years of denial, the Congress party has finally and officially admitted the dark phase of Indian history. On March 3, 2021, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that the Emergency imposed was a mistake during Indira Gandhi’s regime. He went on to defend the former Prime Minister stating that she admitted imposing an Emergency to be an error and an undesirable event.

These events are unfortunate and a big pockmark on the face of India’s vibrant democracy as they violated the constitutional rights of the people of the country. No matter how many years go by, whenever we talk about Indira Gandhi, the controversies surrounding her term are sure to come up.