Reservation for Government school students: Only Naveen Patnaik Can

Reservation For Govt School Students: A Landmark Decision That Will Be Cherished By Generations To Come

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Cabinet headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik approved the historic proposal to reserve seats in Engineering and Medical colleges for government school students of the state. The decision, while creating a level playing field for the students passing out from government institutes, will act as a savior for the meritorious students who were deprived of advanced coaching facilities. The genesis of this historic decision goes back to the Biju Janata Dal’s State Council Meeting held last month of the last year in which the proposal was unanimously passed to this effect.

This well thought out and good intentioned decision is going to help a sizable number of meritorious students coming out of the government institutes. The government has also made it clear that it wants to implement the reservation from the next academic year. A high powered committee headed by a Retired Judge of the High Court will finalize the modalities of implementing the Cabinet decision. The committee will also include eminent persons including educationists as members.

This swift decision, in the present scenario, is likely to secure about ten percent of the seats in Engineering and Medical Colleges for the Government Alumni. This will be in addition to the already given reservation to SCs, STs, and other categories. In a state like Odisha, where the intermediate education is largely occupied by private institutes with well equipped infrastructure, the government school students lack the confidence to compete with their peers from private institutions. Particularly in the urban areas, the numerous coaching centers are preparing their students for the NEET and JEE by taking huge sums of money that is not affordable to otherwise a large section of the families. Those who are studying in government high schools had the disadvantage of lacking advanced coaching facilities but with the government coming forward with the reservation, will definitely help them achieve their ambitions.

This historic decision will ensure that all the students of the state have a level playing field when it comes to studying higher education courses. Odisha was marking a significant decline in the number of government school college students getting admission through the NEET and JEE centralized examinations. This was mainly due to the rural and semi urban students of the state lacked proper coaching facilities like the private college students. While there is no dearth of talent in the government schools and colleges, the systematic increase in the organized coaching centers was being seen as the biggest culprit.

According to a statement issued by the government “It is a fact that these centralized competitive exams require special skill sets which are imparted mainly through the coaching centers and online coaching classes. Due to such centers being limited to mostly urban pockets and the high economic cost of access to such facilities, thousands of meritorious students from the government school system are at a disadvantage and therefore, fare lower than their potential in the entrance exams. This is unfair competition for the vast majority of children in Odisha,”.

Each and every decision taken by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has a huge social implication. Like many earlier decisions, this one will also be a historic one and will be cherished by generations to come. His attempt to bridge the divide between the government and private students will definitely bear fruits and some of the best minds coming from the government institutions will get admitted in engineering and medical colleges. And for those who are criticizing the decision and asking for reservation for OBCs and SEBCs, they should know that Biju Janata Dal has passed a resolution in its State Council meeting this month for implementation of OBC reservation in Odisha. The state government is also at an advanced stage preparing the modalities for implementation in this regard.

The decision taken by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for implementation of reservation for government school students in Medical and Engineering Colleges has been welcomed by all. According to Prabhat Kumar Dash of Kandhamal, guardian to a high school student, “The decision will immensely benefit the students from rural areas and studying in government colleges. We at Kandhamal are unable to send our children to the state capital or other states for advanced coaching. Another parent, Sunita Rayaguru from Koraput also expressed her happiness and said “We are happy that the government has created a level playing field for the government school students. We were lacking that level playing field in the competition. Though government schools are providing good education, we could not give them the advanced coaching as being given in private schools and colleges. The decision is going to definitely help the meritorious students passing out from government institutes.” According to Niranjana Maharana, a teacher from Malkangiri, “the decision to reserve seats for government school students is a historic one. We as teachers give our best to the students but in today’s competitive world our students were unable to compete with their peers from private institutes. They have all the resources and facilities which our students lack. This reservation will definitely bring equality. For the meritorious students from the most backward places like Malkangiri, Koraput and other places this is a blessing. We will definitely see some of the best doctors and engineers from these areas in the coming years after the successful implementation of the reservation.”

High School students who will be competing in the entrance exams in the coming years are also very elated with this decision of the state government. For Sriya Gouda a ninth class student from SRP High school, Domuhani, Ganjam, “Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s decision to reserve seats for government school students will definitely motivate us to study hard and compete with private school college students. We are unable to go to coaching classes in Bhubaneswar or Berhampur for various reasons. Our teachers in government schools are never less than the coaching centers but when it comes to advanced coaching and technology we were lacking. Now as the reservation process has started, we are confident that we will also challenges our friends from urban areas and coaching centers. For Mukesh Putel, a tenth student from Sri Dangara Budha High School in Balangir, “I am very happy with the government decision. I am going to write the tenth exams in the coming months. I will also write the NEET and JEE exams. But I cannot afford to go to Bhubaneswar for Coaching centers. This decision is going to change the life of students like me who have always dreamt to excel in our lives.”

Like always some political parties are opposing the government decision due to their own intensions. The Bharatiya Janata Party state leaders are going to the media with their own invalid points and are arguing against the reservation initiative. With their criticism, they themselves are conveying that they are against the development of people belonging to rural areas and who are studying in government run schools. Their opposition to the initiative is clearly showing the double standards the BJP leaders are maintaining. They must understand that under the purview of the Constitutions, the state government can take any decision if that is going to benefit the otherwise disadvantaged students.

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