NR Narayana Murthy says India should invest $1 billion a year to accelerate NEP outcome
"Our nation, targeting a GDP of $5 trillion soon, will not find it a big financial burden,” he said.
BENGALURU: Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy suggested that India should invest $1 billion annually for the next 20 years to accelerate the outcome of the National Education Policy (NEP).
Explaining the four stages of innovation and invention while delivering a lecture on ‘Making India a respected nation in invention and innovation’ at the announcement of the Infosys Prize 2023 here on Wednesday, Murthy said in Stage 1, a nation generally does not invent and innovate and in Stage 2, a nation generally starts producing products and services using the inventions and innovations of other nations without any improvement.
“In Stage 3, a nation generally leverages higher education and research to innovate and improve on those from other nations for better productivity, quality, cost, and comfort. Stage 4 is when a nation becomes an inventor of new processes, products, and services,” he opined, noting that nations progress from Stages 1 to 4 using education and research.
“India’s success in atomic energy, space exploration, vaccine production and distribution, green revolution, electric cars, and generic medicines puts us in Stage 2 in most areas and in Stage 3 in a few areas,” he said, adding that India is still in Stage 1 in some important areas like the design of livable cities, pollution management, traffic management, and providing clean and safe water.
Pointing out that improving the quality of research and education in institutions of higher learning to generate good ideas and focusing on quick and high-quality implementation of those ideas form the solution to this aspiration, the Infosys founder stated that NEP has started this journey.
“One possible way of accelerating NEP’s outcome is to invite 10,000 retired highly accomplished teachers from the developed world and from India in STEM areas (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to create 2,500 ‘Train the Teacher’ colleges in our 28 states and eight Union Territories. The training programme should be year-long,” he suggested.
“Experts tell me that each set of four trainers can train 100 primary school teachers and 100 secondary school teachers a year. We will be able to train 250,000 primary school teachers and 250,000 secondary school teachers every year by this method. These trained Indian teachers can themselves become trainers over five years. We should pay about $100,000 a year for each of these retired teachers.
This 20-year programme will cost us $1 billion a year and $20 billion for 20 years. Our nation, targeting a GDP of $5 trillion soon, will not find it a big financial burden,” he said, adding, “If you think this is expensive, you may recall the words of Derek Bok, a former president of Harvard University, who said, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”.”