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Neharika Vohra’s (IIMA Prof) views on Reservations

25 April 2008 4 Comments

Hi All,

Reservations is one of the hot topics on Lunch table these days. It has created immense anxiety in IIM aspirants.

CWS took the initiative to listen to what people in the other side of the table think about it! Here is the transcript of Neharika Vohra’s (An IIM Ahemadabad Faculty) exclusive interview to Coffee With Sundar!

Coffee With Neharika Vohra – IIMA Faculty
Me: Sundar Rajan G S
NV: Neharika Vohra

Me: First of all, thank you very much maam for accepting this short interview.
Me: Since the decision about reservation/quota is already made, I dont want to talk much about it. Instead, I want to talk about future and whats in store ahead.

Me: There is so much worry about the impact of this decision on quality of education in IIMs. What is your stance on this? Is this quota going to impact the quality? Why or Why not?
NV: I do not think that quota is going to affect quality so much. I think it will be upto us to work with the students, bring them upto speed, allow them to learn, and help them to find the best fit in terms of their career. We have done this for the last 40 years with other groups and I do not see why it will affect now.

Me: What should educational institutions do to accommodate these extra 27% students apart from building hostels and class rooms etc? What are the steps required for scaling up? How long would it take? Is 3 years enough?
NV: In addition to building hostels I think we need to look at program design, setting up the right social infrastructure, have sensitivity training for the various stakeholders of our institute. The physical infrastructure will take time. The psychological work does not need so much time… it needs readiness and the will to implement.

Me: Irrespective of whether people agree for reservations or not, there is one thing which people agree – removing the creamy layer! Great move! But dont you think it is very difficult to do this check? People start producing fake income certificates etc? How do you think this rule is going to be enforced?
NV: I think the check is difficult but not impossible. There are various interesting ways. For example in a school in the Middle East, full fee waiver is offered to students whose parents work as labourers etc. The school also checks the passports of these children and family members to find out how many times do they travel! I think if we wish to check there are many ways in which this can be done.

Me: If there is some one who is made scape-goat in the whole process.. they are the students who are waiting for results. I agree that IIMs cant do much about the results when creamy layer criteria was added to the OBC reservations.. But alteast, they can give notifications like “Results cant be expected in the next 3 days etc”. This will atleast relieve a lot of tension.. Do you think IIMs could have done a better job in handling the issue or did the IIMs do all it can do?
NV: I cant speak about all the IIMs. However, I think IIMA has been worried and sensitive. They have been working with the necessary groups to ensure that we are not giving the wrong information and we can publish the results as early as possible. We recognize the pain the students must be feeling.

Me: Final question, What is your take on allowing private sector to education? What are its pros and cons.
NV: This is a big question. I think private sector is not bad news for education. However, we need good regulatory framework for it to not hurt the students.

Me: Thank you so much maam for sparing your time. I hope this will calm down the nerves of aspirants. And also to people who have been cribbing about the quality issue. Again, Thanks a lot maam.

First posted in http://coffeewithsundar.com

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