Reservation for Schedule Castes (SCs), Schedule Tribes (STs) and OBCs in the country's premier institutions of higher learning would not lower the academic standards, but open up avenues for meritorious candidates of the backward classes, Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh said on Tuesday.
"Merit does not go with class, it goes with capacity," Singh told newsmen after a function to mark the first anniversary of the Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Education and Research Institute (RKMVERI), a deemed university.
While most higher learning institutions in southern India followed a nearly 60 per cent reservation policy, backward class students there competed on equal terms with those from the general classes.
Denying any difference between himself and Social Justice Minister Meira Kumar over the seat reservation, he said the government would take necessary steps about reservations after receiving the Moily Committee report.
On the future of the state's 36 B Ed colleges whose courses were declared illegal by Calcutta High Court owing to their non-affiliation to the NCTE, Singh said the Centre would protect the interest of the students either by amending the laws or any other means with help from the state government.
"Two days ago, the Advocate General of the state was in Delhi. The interest of students in paramount, but we have to also ensure that it is done within the framework of law," the minister said.
Singh, however, made it clear that in future, the government would not allow any institution to run B.Ed courses without affiliations from the NCTE.