From the Editor-in-Chief: Looking at the quota system

Enayetullah Khan
Thursday, March 8th, 2018
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There is certainly a need for a quota system to be in place where providing people with jobs and other facilities are concerned. When we speak of the quota system, we take it to mean that there are people in society, around us, whose opportunities for finding places for themselves in the mainstream are limited by circumstances and who therefore must be patronized by the State.

 

But the quota system can only go so far and indeed the line must be drawn at the point where it begins to threaten the natural flow of ambitions and qualities in those who stand ready to serve the nation. In the circumstances existing today, the quota system relating to employment and other opportunities amounts to as much as 55 per cent. The system ranges from places reserved for freedom fighters and their families to other areas, so much so that today it has turned into a stumbling block for young people who are qualified to serve the nation but are prevented from doing so by circumstances. In simple terms, the quota system has in recent years been leading society to a degree of stagnation which cannot be desired by anyone if indeed the collective objective of the people of Bangladesh is to catch up with the rest of the world.

 

In recent weeks, we have observed with growing concern the protests that have been voiced against the quota system. The concern has to do with the fact that these young people, seeing no other way of advancing their arguments, have now come forth on the streets to register their protests. It is only proper that the authorities take their points of view into consideration. We cannot, in the interest of the future, block the path to a full flowering of merit among the young in our country.

 

But even as we note our concerns regarding the quota system, we realize too that there are certain areas and certain groups of citizens whose disadvantaged status in society must be recognized for what it is. A wholesale doing away with quotas will not be the right way towards ensuring the rise of meritocracy in the country, for there is the general rule of life that society is an aggregate of people that includes the meritorious and the average. Giving advantages to one at the expense of another will only lead to unforeseen and unintended consequences.

 

We need to tread a fine line here. At the end of the day, however, we cannot ignore the thought that the quota system should not become an albatross around the neck for us.

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