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Quota at IIMs, IITs will not help disadvantaged: Narayanamurthy

Staff Reporter

Infosys Chief Mentor says it will de-motivate high performers

PHOTO: SUSHANTA PATRONOBISH

N R. Narayana Murthy Chief Mentor, Infosys Technologies Ltd, and Asim Dasgupta, West Bengal Minister of Finance during the third K.C. Basu Memorial Endowment Lecture in Kolkata on Thursday.

KOLKATA: Reserving a handful of seats in the IITs and IIMs does not help the millions of disadvantaged children in India, feels N.R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman and Chief Mentor, Infosys Technologies Limited.

Education in India tends to cater to the lowest common denominator and in the process, it lowers academic standards and de-motivates high performers, said Mr. Murthy, speaking at 3rd K.C. Basu Memorial Endowment lecture, organised by the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences here on Thursday.

The solution is not to reserve seats for the "low performers," but to provide extra coaching, nutrition and financial support at the primary and secondary levels to make them worthy of competition.

Bemoaning the unsatisfactory quality and lack of worthwhile innovation in higher education in the country, Mr. Murthy argued that providing full autonomy to the institutions of higher learning would help them in improving standards.

Autonomy, according to Mr. Murthy would include the freedom to decide on the selection and size intake of students as well as teachers, syllabus, fees and scholarships for students, compensation for faculty, etc.

Regulatory body

Mr. Murthy also proposed setting up a regulatory committee consisting of eminent educationists from countries that are in the top five in the global educational arena, who will lay down standards.

Based on such parameters, the institutions can be ranked by the media.

Public universities should also be classified into A, B or C categories based on their current level of performance and there should be floor-level standards that the institutions achieve before their grants can be renewed or enhanced.

Mr. Murthy said that a country was as good as the intellectuals it produces and that the wealth and prosperity of a nation was more dependant on access to knowledge than on access to natural resources.

Other guests present included Ashim Dasgupta, Finance Minister, West Bengal and the economist Kaushik Basu.

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