By Sauleha Sohail
A lot many of us might have ignored this issue or never thought about it. Why? Simply because we have never been through it, but we as a nation should realize the poisonous impact of unequal reservation system in our economy. Where there are good points to it, there are more negative impacts of reservation. It is as a whole corrupting our society and dividing it into two halves.
We see reservation system everywhere. The basic concept of reservation was to support the backward and needy classes but it is also very important to gauge the impacts.
We, as a nation, believe in equality but do we actually practice it? Reservation in educational sector, where certain number of seats are kept for the hardworking children who cannot afford, is not an exception because usually child of a rich bureaucrat or businessman gets the seat, irrespective of whether he or she deserves it or nor, while the poor child who keeps on trying and working hard is left with his dreams shattered.
Reservation, in other words, creates another privileged section that suppresses the needy people. Child of a driver with lots of dreams and aims in his eyes working and studying hard day and night to get admission in a reputable institution so that he can live a good life is usually replaced by the lazy son of a rich businessman or bureaucrat belonging to the ‘deserving area’. How unfair is that?
Besides this, the heavy fees of reputable universities cannot be afforded by all. These universities are meant to be for upper middle class families so what is the fault of the one who was born in lower middle class? A tailor who wants his child to study in the most recognized university cannot afford to pay in lakhs so how is his intelligence defined in that term? Moreover if you go in the job market the demand of job market would be that they want employees from top 3 business schools where the fees shoots up to the sky. This clearly means that if u can pay in lakhs then you are recognized and can be employed while the ones who can’t afford and get the degree from a normal place aren’t. How can one say that the one who studied from the top university is far more capable and intelligent than the one who studied from a normal institute? What criteria define intelligence and capability?
Just because that person can afford to pay the fees and study at a good place means he or she will get a good handsome pay and this in other words means that backward class can never come up and will be working under them forever. We need to realize that there is family pressure on many students who worked really hard and their seats are then bought by some rich child, That poor child is burdened solely because he is the bread earner and this failure is considered by them as failure for life and they end up giving up their life (A lot many real life cases have been reported) or leads to increase drug abuse or domestic violence.
In 1973, the Government of Sindh imposed quota system in Sindh where the employment and admissions to the elite colleges and universities was not based on merit but on ethnic origin and the place of residency. This, in other words, is creating disparity and poisoning minds of our youth. Reserving seats for the underprivileged has also created a private sector response by the relatively well off, who come mostly from the upper castes. If we take a look at the booming industry of “coaching classes,” which prepare students to take admissions tests for the prestigious universities. This in no words means that reservation causes increase in coaching classes but this for sure means that reservations certainly accentuated the growth of industry by inducing upper caste students to compete for a smaller share of a fixed number of university seats.
Reservation system only divides the society leading to discrimination and conflicts between different sections. It is oppressive and does not find its basis in casteism. It is actually the antithesis of a communal living. A category cannot decide whether a person is eligible for admission or not.
Instead of introducing reservations for these backward classes what is required is to bring about revolutionary changes in our education system at the grass-root level. Now when we talk about educational system we need to talk about the very core. A nation where there are more than 5 educational systems running how can we expect the citizens of that nation to be on an aggregate level? We have Sindh board, Federal board, Islamic madrassas, convents schools, O/A level system and Grammar schools. Where children are studying on the basis of the amount of fees their parents can afford to pay this is adding complexity in the minds of our youth as a whole. We need to bring a proper equal educational system for our citizens so they all end up getting polished in the same way so when they enter the job market they all have same kind of personality. Currently, a grammarian and a madrassa child they both would be on north and South Pole.
To sum up, we need to start working from the scratch to reduce disparity. If a member of lower strata applies to a job and has the right qualifications and is a better performer compared to peers, he should get the job. We all must stand up and raise our voice against inequality because it is a matter which must be solved for our future generations and to uplift our economy as a whole. It’s a challenge of Pakistan vs Pakistan and we all need to work on it.
The contributor is an MBA student at IOBM, Karachi.