Bengaluru: IT veteran N R Narayana Murthy on Thursday advocated higher autonomy and less governmental interference in the functioning of educational institutions.
"I think, my own personal view is there should be higher and higher levels of autonomy, government should not interfere in setting up colleges, in running colleges. The market, the society will decide which is a good university, which is not a good university, rather than government mandating," Murthy said.
Speaking on the sidelines of an event organised to announce Infosys Prize 2014 here, he said, "That's where I think the role of AICT and UGC must be reduced and we should provide full autonomy to professors, researchers and administrators of university. Then I think things will improve a lot like it happens in advanced countries."
The Infosys Science Foundation today announced the winners of the Infosys Prize 2014 across six categories like Engineering and Computer Science, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences.
Asked whether he thinks that with the mushrooming of schools and colleges there would be no quality control, and how this can be curbed, Murthy said, "All over the world these things have happened. But it is the market that will determine who is a success and who is not. I don't think government control is what is going to improve this."
"So my view is that instead of trying to curb things, in the beginning there will be certain percentage of people who will take advantage of this freedom. But that's ok... A small percentage of people will suffer. But in the end, we will come out with a system of education, with a system of university, with a system of colleges that are of a better quality than what it is," he said.
Asked if there should be more private investment in
education, Murthy said, "More than private what I would say, whether it is IITs or IISc or National Law School or other Universities, the government should take a back seat, there should be greater and greater freedom to the academicians, to the administrators, to the students to determine how their own institution should progress."
Stating that the country had a huge problem in education, he said, "The quality of education is low, the percentage of people who go to colleges is low. Therefore we have a huge set of challenges. But we are making progress. There is no doubt about it, but we can make even faster progress if we agree to learn from those countries that have done better than us. We have to open our minds."
To a question if lack of funding was the problem, he said, "I think funding will come, funding is not an issue. We have to provide full freedom to those institutions that are already there for them to reach a better level."
"The key issue is providing full academic freedom," he added.
Asked what are the three things needed to reshape the country and make it a better place, Murthy said, "I think at the end of the day you have to reduce friction to businesses, ideally to zero so that more and more entrepreneurs can create more and more jobs with higher and higher disposable income."
"Second, create an easy to understand, easy to interpret, easy implement tax system and collect more and more taxes; third use the tax money efficiently and without corruption to provide basic common good - education, healthcare, nutrition, shelter etc for the poor and also to create infrastructure for every Indian."