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An estimated 3-minute read

The IDIA initiative is noble but not enough.

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There was a lot of coverage on the IDIA initiative (Click here to read about the initiative ). I like what they're trying to do here. However, the numbers are stacked wildly against anyone trying to bring in change. There are three hurdles one has to get through to become a student of law at a top law school.


The first is based purely on numbers. In the year 1993, three years after I was born, all of us got into primary school. The Government gave itself a pat on the back. By the time it was 2006 , nearly 50% of us had dropped out. And then in 2008, just 8% of us made it to college. We were the lucky 8% who didn't have to fight poverty or be unable to study cause of a lack of guidance. This was the first stage of getting cut-off for a poor student.We were the elite 8% of India who got to attend some form of under-graduate education. Of this 8%,  less than 0.000005% attend the top 10 law schools in India. It doesn't include all those studying law; just the ones studying law at the top colleges.


If the poor student, say his name is Ravi, was among the lucky 8%,  he would face the next big challenge: coaching. Getting into any of these colleges is more about money and less about merit. Money gets one access to resources and access to resources gets you into these law schools. And unfortunately CLAT, like all other competitive exams in India, is based solely on one's ability to have been coached. And coaching centers are not cheap. Rewind two years and I remember my parents shelling out Rs.20,000 for a 8 month course. While that money may not be much for many, it is a lot for someone whose parents don't earn in lakhs.


In the third stage, we assume that Ravi does make it against all odds. If he got into my college, his parents would have to shell out Rs.1 lakh a year for the tuition fees and a minimum of Rs.36000 for other living expenses. For someone whose parents don't earn more than one lakh or two that is quite a burden. A loan you might suggest. Banks require a third party guaranty or collateral security for a loan above five lakhs.  For a family who can barely afford to get through the week, that isn't something they can provide.


And lastly, Universities do not want poor students. It's bad business for them. Poor students would not be as easy as rich ones. They demand answers unlike the rich who can afford the whimsical demands by the Universities. Like no one protested the fines my University a few years ago or the increase in fees. We don't mind paying cause at the end of the end, it's about who can pay and not who wants to study.


While I wish IDIA luck, they need to bring in radical thinking on part of the Universities. I would suggest they request every University to start a free coaching center for students whose parents cannot afford these course. While we may not be able to include everyone, it will go a long way in making law schools truly Indian.


Read John2010's other blogs:

Getting the recruitment process right.

How e-governance almost killed this man.

Celebrating Baby Thackeray's decision to study in English

We're all racists. Can we change?

8 disturbing signs that our elected representatives have forgotten us.

How comrade whistle blower lost his ethical virginity

The PM on legal education: What he said and did not say.

The 26/11 Judgement fails the maturity test and how we can still salvage justice.

Confessions of a chronic cheater.....

When things go wrong.....

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