All of the leading educational institutes have 60% of their seats reserved for students of backward castes. It is a fairly common expression and a sad fact in India.

What would be an alternative to the word "seat" in this sentence? Even though it is very popular here, I am sure it has been used incorrectly because I did not find any meaning for the word "seat" which could be used over here.

  • 1
    'Seat' is very understandable but not the first word that eould be expected in BrE or AmE. Which castes are the 'backwards' ones? – Mitch Dec 27 '12 at 13:18
  • @Mitch the ones that would be considered to be untouchable and slave 100 years back. – Dude Dec 27 '12 at 13:20
  • @Mitch yes I know it is common in AmE or BrE, that is why I want to its alternative – Dude Dec 27 '12 at 13:21
  • I think seat is OK for this in AmE. Here is a recent news story: "Harvard interviewed about 2,200 candidates and accepted about 1,100 to fill its 905-910 available seats." – GEdgar Dec 27 '12 at 13:45
  • 1
    I'd say seats would be understood, but in Aus, you'd find it more common to hear places – tanantish Dec 27 '12 at 15:55

Higher Education institutions offer places in the UK. It may be the same in other regions.

I might prefer lower caste for backward cast but that wasn't part of the question.

  • I do agree that saying ‘backward’ is quite offensive. But now that I look at it, is using cast for caste even normal? – tchrist Dec 27 '12 at 13:03
  • Keep in mind that we're dealing with sensitive/PC-inflected terminology in another culture. India appears to have adopted "backward" to get away from "lower". When that becomes exhausted as a euphemism, they'll cycle to another one - just like we do, but in a different sequence. – StoneyB on hiatus Dec 27 '12 at 13:24
  • @StoneyB Yes, but this is essentially "translating" from Indian English into another dialect, so a regional use of "backward" may also need to be changed, just as "seat" needs to be. – Andrew Leach Dec 27 '12 at 13:36
  • Lower income families surely is a more socially acceptable phrase than lower caste? I don't like that phrase at all. – spiceyokooko Dec 27 '12 at 13:45
  • 1
    @spiceyokooko Indian English appears to use "backward" in much the same way contemporary US English uses "disadvantaged". I expect entirely new terms in both by 2025. – StoneyB on hiatus Dec 27 '12 at 14:20

I would suggest enrollments, or perhaps admissions.


You might say that they reserve 60% of their openings or positions to members of the lower classes.


Over here in Aus you might also hear intake being used to refer to the overall group/period/people entering university so you could say that 60% of the institution's target intake is reserved?

Sample usage : RMIT's mid-year intake or Monash's 2005 key dates (Fri 31, Dec 2004 is the last day of the Feb intake).


All of the leading educational institutes have 60% of their quotas reserved for students of backward castes.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.