Poor quality of students entering IITs: Murthy

Infosys chairman emeritus NR Narayana Murthy has voiced his displeasure over the quality of engineers that pass out of the IITs.

New York: Voicing his displeasure over the
quality of engineers that pass out of the IITs, Infosys
chairman emeritus NR Narayana Murthy has said there is a need
to overhaul the selection criteria for students seeking
admission to the prestigious technology institutions.

Addressing a gathering of hundreds of former IITians at a
`Pan IIT` summit here, Murthy said the quality of students
entering Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) has
deteriorated over the years due to the coaching classes that
prepare engineering aspirants.

He said the majority of the students fare poorly at jobs
and global institutions of higher education.

"Thanks to the coaching classes today, the quality of
students entering IITs has gone lower and lower," Murthy said,
receiving a thundering applause from his audience.

He said apart from the top 20 per cent of students who
crack the tough IIT entrance examination and can "stand among
the best anywhere in the world," quality of the remaining 80
per cent of students leave much to be desired.

Coaching classes teach aspirants limited sets of
problems, out of which a few are asked in the examinations.

"They somehow get through the joint entrance examination.
But their performance in IITs, at jobs or when they come for
higher education in institutes in the US is not as good as it
used to be.

"This has to be corrected. A new method of selection of
students to IITs has to be arrived at."

Drawing a road map to put IITs among the top engineering
institutes in the world, Murthy said it has to be ensured that
IITs "transcend from being just teaching institutions to
reasonably good research institutes" at par with Harvard and
MIT in the next 10-20 years.

"Few IITs have done well in producing PhDs but in reality
when we compare ourselves to institutions in this country, we
have a long way to go," he said.

More emphasis has to be given to research at the
undergraduate level and examinations should test independent
thinking of students rather than their ability to solve

Murthy said in order to produce good research at IITs,
the Indian government has to be persuaded to create
institutions that fund research projects.

In addition, faculty members should also be evaluated
annually on their research performance by an independent
committee, Murthy said adding that India must shift from the
tenure system for its faculty to a five year contractual
appointment system.

The Infosys mentor also lamented the poor English
speaking and social skills of a majority of IIT students,
saying with Indian politicians "rooting against English", the
task of getting good English speaking students at IITs gets
more difficult.

"An IITian has to be a global citizen and must understand
where the globe is going," he added.

Murthy also stressed the need to have the governing
council of IITs made up of its alumni.

The only way IITs can become better is if 80-90 per cent
of members on their governing council are alumni.

"Nobody is bothered about an institution more than its
alumni. We must somehow persuade the government of India to
let go of its control and make sure majority of the council
members is the IIT alumni."

Murthy urged IITians spread across the globe to work with
their alma mater to ensure that IITs are among the top 10
engineering schools of the world.

He said while only a couple of IITs feature in the top
50, there should be at least five IITs in the top 10
engineering schools in the world in the next 10-20 years, he


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