New Delhi, Nov. 16: A committee set up by the human resource development ministry has recommended reservation for minority students in professional institutions like the Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Management and Indian Institute of Foreign Trade.
The committee will meet tomorrow to discuss the report. Arjun Singh, who holds the ministry and will preside over the meeting, may find it difficult to ignore the recommendation, though it is likely to spark a huge furore. Improving the status of minority education has been high on Singhs list of priorities since he took charge of the ministry.
A range of recommendations to improve the educational status of minorities has been made by the committee for minorities education.
Earlier, the ministrys move to confer minority status on Aligarh Muslim University ran into trouble after a court order de-recognised it.
The recommendation for reservation in IITs and IIMs is likely to trigger a controversy with a section of experts arguing that quotas will not help minority students. They say students with a weak educational background may find it difficult to cope with the pressures at IITs and IIMs.
In its report, the committee says: The number of minority students is falling in prestigious institutions like IIT, IIM, IIFT (institute of foreign trade), etc. The committee is of the opinion that reservations may be made for admission of minority students in such institutions.
IITs and IIMs have mandatory quotas for SC/ST students. Scheduled castes have a 12.5 per cent reservation and scheduled tribes 7.5 per cent. Besides, there is a quota of 3 per cent for physically challenged students.
The committee has not specified the size of the quota for minorities in the report.
It also wants to improve representation of minorities and backward classes in the civil services.
As in the case of SC/ST, a centre may be established in the existing IITs and IIMs where bright students from these communities can be identified through the qualifying examination, says the committee.
The centres can then coach them. The idea of associating IITs and IIMs with the coaching centres is to ensure a high standard of coaching which can easily be given by the highly competent faculty members, it says.
After admission, SC/ST students are coached for a year to bring them up to the standard of these institutions.
The committee has made important recommendations for madarsa education. It has suggested scrapping the present scheme initiated in 1993-94.
Its basic objective was to improve and bring the standard of minority education at par with general education. Unfortunately, the desired results could not be achieved with the existing parameters of the scheme, says the report.
The government may consider scrapping the existing scheme and introducing a new scheme. Under the new scheme, there can be a central madarsa board/sangathan, it says.