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.
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?