Welcome extension of TN quota for professional courses

The quota in professional courses is expected to similarly open up avenues of opportunity in elite state institutions for students from difficult backgrounds.

Published: 03rd September 2021 12:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd September 2021 11:10 PM   |  A+A-

Tamil Nadu Assembly (File Photo | P Jawahar, EPS)

The Tamil Nadu Assembly recently passed a law allowing for 7.5% reservation for students of government-run and aided schools in professional courses, including engineering, agriculture and law. The horizontal quota, which will be implemented from the current academic year, will benefit around 30,000 students, according to state officials. In providing the quota, the DMK government was taking a leaf out of the book of the previous AIADMK regime. The latter, having exhausted legal options to prevent the implementation of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for medical admissions in the state, last year passed a law providing 7.5% reservation for government students. As a result, over 300 students from disadvantaged backgrounds were able to access medical admission, many more than even before the NEET. The quota in professional courses is expected to similarly open up avenues of opportunity in elite state institutions for students from difficult backgrounds.

The moves of both governments are welcome and necessary correctives to the structural inequities that skew the landscape of educational opportunity. However, the state’s responsibilities cannot end there. Tamil Nadu needs to urgently strengthen its school system. Over the past few years, the then government had systematically worked to upgrade the state syllabus to bring it on par with the CBSE’s. But there is more work to be done. According to the Union Education Ministry’s Performance Grading Index, 2019, Tamil Nadu was in the top five states in the country overall. However, a closer look reveals that while the state scores well in access, infrastructure, equity and governance, it is ranked 22nd on learning outcomes. These outcomes would have worsened during the course of the pandemic when disadvantaged children lost contact with schools with many falling into child marriage and labour. The government has said addressing learning loss will be a priority but it is imperative a mechanism be created by which education is provided safely and in a consistent manner reaching all students, insulated from future spikes in Covid-19 cases


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