Historically, due to caste system, the access to knowledge in India was restricted to very low percentage of population . So technically, we have always had the system since centuries,only that it worked in primarily favour of the " upper castes". What is the Gurukul system but a system of reservation where only the top three 'Varnas' were allowed to enter( I suspect it was even more exclusive: I havent heard the stories of the Vaishyas being included in the Gurukuls, nor was it open to women- barring over hyped exceptions of course). I am often irritated when people talk about reviving this system as a remedy to the depraved 'Macaulayian' education system. These people forget that if Macaulaying model was not implemented ninety percent of the society would still be living in the dark ages. Nor is the Gurukul system of any use when the nature of knowledge, its processes of production and distribution have altered completely. The Gurukul system may have been of some use when the knowledge was largely produced and transmitted orally. Today, knowledge is produced in research and analysis departments and laboratories,preserved, processed and transmitted by machines on immensely large scale. How can you teach applied physics or mechanics in a Gurukul? Hence, I feel most of the talk of revival of the Gurukuls is a waste of time.
When the system of reservation was turned up side down after the Independence, there was hue and cry regarding merit from people who have been enjoying the privileges since centuries. Had Eklavyas been 'admitted' on the bases of 'merit' instead of "only upper caste" system of reservation functioning at Dronacharya Gurukuls,we would not have needed the reservation system today.
( Views expressed on the Facebook community called Netrutva: Teachers for Transformation and Leadership)