New Delhi: India’s prestigious IITs have become “victims” of rote learning syndrome because of the “tyranny of coaching classes”, said Infosys Co-founder Narayana Murthy as he listed out key challenges in the country’s road to progress.
The billionaire laid out a two-part plan to combat the disconnect between pure and applied research, insufficient grants and the web of coaching centers and rote learning.
He was speaking on the occasion of the Infosys Prize 2022 Ceremony on Tuesday in Bengaluru.
Murthy’s two components for success
Delivering a lecture on ‘The importance of research in solving pressing problems around us’, the IT industry icon emphasised on reorienting teaching methods in schools and colleges “towards Socratic-questioning” and to cut down the gap between classroom learning and the real-world problems.
The second component, according to Murthy, is for researchers to focus on solving immediate problems – such a mindset will “inevitably lead to solving bigger challenges”.
He said the nation’s progress on the economic and social front depended on the quality of scientific and technological research. “Therefore, recognising and rewarding the outstanding research efforts of researchers is necessary.
By doing so, we will encourage not only other researchers, but also create role models and inspire young people to consider careers in research,” Murthy said, underscoring that it was the inspiration behind starting the Infosys Prize in 2009.
Deaths linked to India-made cough syrups ‘dented’ pharma industry’s credibility
Murthy also noted the absence of Indian universities in top global rankings and lamented how India still hasn’t produced a vaccine for dengue and chikungunya, “which have been ravaging us for the last 70 years now”.
“There is not a single Indian institution of higher learning in the top 250 of the world university global ranking that was announced in 2020. Even the vaccines we have produced, are either based on technology from advanced countries, or based on research from the developed world,” he said.
He also touched upon the death of 66 children in Gambia linked to cough syrups made by an Indian manufacturer, saying the incident has brought “unimaginable shame” to the country and also “dented the credibility of the country’s pharmaceutical regulatory agency.”
In his lecture, he praised the introduction of the new National Education Policy. He also congratulated Professor Gagandeep Kang among others on becoming fellows of the Royal Society in London, and professor Ashok Sen for winning the Millenium prize.
This winners’ list for this year’s Infosys Prize is as follows:
Engineering and Computer Science – Suman Chakraborty
Humanities – Sudhir Krishnaswamy
Life sciences – Vidita Vaidya
Mathematical Sciences – Mahesh Kakde
Physical Sciences – Nissim Kanekar
Social sciences – Rohini Pande.
The Prize carries a reward of $1,00,000.
Also read: Work on fluid mechanics, constitutional law, human behaviour — Infosys Prize winners announced