SC/ST seats stay vacant
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SC/ST seats stay vacant

Not enough SC/ST students pass out from schools and therefore the quota is not filled.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2006 22:56 IST

The HRD ministry may have stipulated 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes in Central education institutions, but the 50-year old quota of 22.5 per cent for SC/ST students in higher education institutes still remains vacant.

The ministry might have thought twice before opting for the Mandal model had it considered that only 16 per cent of total (over one crore) students in higher education institutes in India were from SC/ST.

As per the ministry's own data on admissions: In class I to V as many as 27 per cent of the total students were from the SC/ST category. But, their share gradually fell as the students climbed the school ladder. Only 24 per cent of them remained in class V-VIII and their number fell to 19.1 per cent by the time they reached class XII.

It is not that SC/ST students were not getting admission in schools. The ministry's data says that about 91 per cent of SC/ST students took admission in classes I to V as compared to the overall rate of 98 per cent. They, however, steadily dropped out. For example, of about 2.31 crore SC students admitted in classes I to V only about 12 lakh reach higher education institutes. The scenario is even worse for ST students with a higher dropout rate.

An official said, there are not enough SC/ST students passing out from schools and therefore the 22.5 per cent quota is not filled. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, convenor of National Knowledge Commission, says that reservation is not a complete solution.

"Access to higher education without enough incentives for marginalized sections is the core problem. Our emphasis should be on inculcating quality in them through various means," he said.

First Published: Apr 12, 2006 02:13 IST