Revamp of Indian learning needed, says Narayana Murthy

narayana murthy

A reorientation of the Indian education system is needed which is more directed towards Socratic questioning other than just rote learning, according to Infosys Founder NR Narayana Murthy.

“The first component is to reorient our teaching in schools and colleges towards Socratic questioning, in the classroom to solve real world problems around them rather than passing the examinations by rote learning,” said Murthy while speaking at the Infosys Prize announcement event in Bengaluru.

“Even our top institutions have become victims of this syndrome. Thanks to the tyranny of coaching classes,” he said.

The IT veteran said money is not the primary resource for success, innovation and invention.

“Many experts feel that our country, (there is an) inability to use research to solve our immediate pressing problems around us..(this) is due to lack of inculcating curiosity at an early age, disconnect between pure or applied research, inadequate cutting edge research infrastructure in our higher educational institutions..,” Murthy said in his keynote speech.

He also called for the Indian Government to set up an institute to research on future technologies and science similar to Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA) in Europe to make sure Indian students take up applied sciences over pure sciences as a career stream.

Salil Parekh, CEO of Infosys and also one of the trustees of the foundation pressed for the importance of corporates to inculcate research in science and innovation in the country. “Today, we (Infosys) are already doing work which is new in the area of quantum computing. We have been leaders in the area of cloud. This sort of innovation is helping our clients and making us more and more relevant for them,” he said in response to a question by ET.

On brain drain and students leaving India for higher studies, former Infosys CFO and board member TV Mohandas Pai said the governments and corporates should “incentivise” researchers with grants and provide facilities to work in India. The Rs 10,000 crore per year grants for universities under New Education Policy will help the Indian educational institutes to become “competitive”.

The 14th edition of awards was attended by the trustees of the Infosys Science Foundation— Kris Gopalakrishnan, Srinath Batni, K. Dinesh, Mohandas Pai, Parekh, and S. D. Shibulal.

The Infosys Prize is awarded in six different categories. In the engineering and computer science category, the award was given to Suman Chakraborty. He is the professor of Mechanical Engineering, and dean of Research and Development at Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. He was awarded for his work in elucidating the interaction of fluid mechanics, interfacial phenomena, and electromechanics at the micro- and nanoscale.

The humanities prize was awarded to Sudhir Krishnaswamy, vice chancellor, National Law School of India University, Bengaluru for his insightful understanding of the Indian Constitution, especially his carefully argued account of the importance of the landmark ‘basic structure doctrine’ adopted by the Supreme Court in 1973. The life sciences prize was awarded to Vidita Vaidya, professor and chairperson, Department of Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai. She bagged the award for her fundamental contributions to understanding brain mechanisms that underlie mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.

The mathematics prize was awarded to Mahesh Kakde, professor of Mathematics, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru for his contributions to algebraic number theory.

Nissim Kanekar, professor, National Centre for Radio Astronomy, Pune bagged the prize for physical sciences category. It was awarded for his study of galaxies in an era – the so-called “high noon” period – in which stars were being formed at a maximum rate.

Rohini Pande, professor of economics at Yale University won the prize for social sciences for her research on governance and accountability, women’s empowerment, the role of credit in the lives of the poor and the environment.

“Even as our laureates add to the sum total of human knowledge, their work has real impact in the here and now. We hope that their work will have far-reaching effects not just in solving our current problems but will set the stage for finding solutions for the existential crises facing humanity such as the effects of climate change, accessible diagnostics and healthcare, challenges of mental health, fulfilment of fundamental human rights, and others,” said Kris Gopalakrishnan, president, Infosys Science Foundation and co-founder Infosys.

sabhar: the economic times