Wednesday, July 20, 2011

IITs have lost old sheen, says Narayana Murthy

Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are no longer the quality institutions they were in the 1960s and 70s, said chief mentor of Infosys N R Narayana Murthy while speaking at IIT-Gandhinagar. Murthy encouraged students to become strategic learners and restore the lost glory of the IITs.

Murthy said very few world-class researches came out of IITs and IIMs in the last decade. "In 2004, China produced 2,652 PhDs in computer science and in that year the figure was 24 in our country," he said. "This is truly worrisome. Focus on researches has diminished in the IITs and they have become just a teaching institution and we all know that it is not the way to go about it," he added.

"In the last 15 to 20 years, IITs have lost all the sheen that they had once upon a time. In 1967, at the electrical engineering department of IIT-Kanpur there were about 60 to 70 students registered for PhD. But today, at the same department if there are five PhD students joining in a year, that would be fantastic," said Murthy.

He said that even gold medalists from IITs were at a loss when they pursue researches in institutes like MIT and Harvard. "The primary difference that I have found between the system of education in India and other countries, particularly the US, is that they focus on problem solving and relating theories to reality around them. These two things are lacking in the education system in India," Murthy said.

According to Murthy, the decline of the quality of IITs is also the result of coaching classes for joint entrance examinations. "Today, students prepare hard for a year solving sample questions for IIT-JEE (Joint Entrance Exam). One of these samples matches in the entrance examination and they crack the test," he said.

Inspiring the students to become a strategic learner, Murthy told them to inculcate the qualities of independent thinking, connecting what is learnt in the classrooms with what is happening in the outside world and finding appropriate solutions to problems around.

Source: The Economic Times (Online Edition), July 20, 2011
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