New Delhi, Aug. 2: An expert committee’s interim report on education quotas for other backward classes has cautioned against dilution of academic standards by an additional influx of students.
Veerappa Moily’s oversight committee has, however, played safe on two thorny issues: staggered implementation of the 27 per cent quotas in higher education institutions and exclusion of the creamy layer among the OBCs.
The panel has left the first issue for the institutes to decide, and the more controversial creamy layer question will be addressed in the final report scheduled for August 31.
The report, based on inputs from various sub-committees, has put the cost of quota expansion at Rs 16,563.35 crore, more than double the Rs 8,000-crore estimate of the UPA government.
The challenges posed by the huge bill and the creamy layer figured at an informal meeting between the Prime Minister and his senior colleagues today. Sources said no final decision was taken but the government would try its best to table during the ongoing session an enabling bill to increase quotas.
The CPM has been insisting that the creamy layer be excluded from the quota list but neither the human resource development nor the social justice ministry is willing to take a decision.
Expansion of seats, infrastructure and faculty should begin from the academic year 2007, the Moily report has said. But there is no word on the phased implementation recommended by the IIT and IIM sub-committees.
The HRD ministry is against staggering the quotas because it finds no reason why IITs or IIMs should not be able to cope with more students. Nor will the influx affect academic standards, it said.
That the task of expansion will be far from smooth is evident from the Moily committee now recommending another set of committees: an empowered committee per institution to give it the autonomy to decide its structure of expansion.
The Moily report has repeatedly stressed the need to maintain academic standards in reputed institutions. “The committee recognises institutions of higher learning… can maintain their standards only if quality in both faculty and student is ensured.
“The committee, therefore, recommends that the threshold for admission should be determined by the respective institutions alone as is done today so that the level of excellence is not compromised at all.”