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IITs getting poor quality of students: Narayana Murthy

Infosys chairman emeritus N R Narayana Murthy has said that the quality of students entering IITs is degrading year after year due to coaching classes. While addressing the ‘Pan IIT Summit’ in New York, Murthy called for an overhaul of the selection process for the coveted technology institutions.

“Thanks to the coaching classes today, the quality of students entering IITs has gone lower and lower. Apart from the top 20% 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,” Murthy said, receiving a thundering applause from his audience.

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.

Murthy said a blueprint needs to be prepared to ensure that IITs should “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.

Suggesting measures to ensure greater research output in the country, Murthy said 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.

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

“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.”

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 added.

[Source: Times of India]
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122 thoughts on “IITs getting poor quality of students: Narayana Murthy”

  1. we must change our science and math teaching in school and also the way they are taught in school in order to make the student to be done well in their higher education. There should be a revamp in the school science curruculum and instead of just teaching remerising informations that must focus on the thinking and reasoning skill of the student and should be probleb based. Beacuse out science education is poor irrespective of the state/central education or public schools and the students of 9th /10th start preparing for IIT from early years to cope with the IIT system of education

  2. First of all we have to understand why coaching classes are needed?
    1. Because parents are more concern now than old days.
    2. School teaching is not sufficient to crack the entrance exams.
    3. The questions asked in the entrance exam. is of much higher level than the course covered in the CBSE syllabus. The syllabus of State board even does not mathch with the entrance syllabus. Most of the time questions are B.Sc. (hons) level, which are not covered naturally in the School. So, we can’t blame school based on the success rate in the IIT entrance exam. Here, coaching center plays the major role. They teach all the required advanced topics. Therefore, million dollar question arises that is there any student who is doing IIT B.Tech without taking any sort of help from coaching center.

    I think 70% students are good in quality. But they leave study after clearing entrance exam. because of may be due to tiredness by rigorous coaching or job security.
    Wish all the students very best.

  3. Respected Sri Narayan Murtyji,

    I have gone through your statement and the concept of students getting worse in the recent years does not really attract me. Coaching classes may be the reason for downgrading the quality of an individual but it is important to know what is the quality of student and devise the courses accordingly.
    IITS have put up a set of entrance exams and without that no one can enter. So the entry level barrier has to be overcome and the competition is there, which leads the student to put his thrust on competing the exam. The student enters in to a boxed mentality due to these entry level exams and his free thinking probably starts to evaporate with the structured coaching classes.
    In this scenario the IITs have to understand and devise a curriculum so that they are able to convert the boxed student into an ‘open source resource’ and then teach what is to be delivered to make a engineer.
    I am very strongly of the view that the student can not be bad, but the system which is converting the entrant into a student and the resource for the same both have to be in proper place to get the desired product.

  4. Dr. N Murthy rightly said that beacuse of coaching classes the quality of the IIT students degraded over the past few years. In my opinion, this is because of the reason that, almost all the coaching classes teaches the students in a professional way targetting to crack the IIT exam. To be ambitious is a good thing but achieving the aim in a wrong way is not good. Because of this, students thinks in a way that they are made to think nothing more than that. The golden period of the student actually washed out totally by coaching classes. When these students enter to IIT campus they lacks only beacause their way of thinking is totally biased by the coaching classes. One of the best example to understand this is that if some one asks what is the difference between an engineer and a TV repairing person. A TV repairing person knows what things he has to do in order to repair the tv without actually knowing much about TV. But an engineer must know much more. Exactly same thing happening here, students biased by coaching classes cracks the IIT exam, without actually knowing much about science. Quality is really degrading even though students are capable of cracking IIT exam. Thanks

  5. Sir The first of you have been so natural & forthcoming on this …BUT humbly Sir can’t we react in a more pro manner, before actually we land up in a mess…at public expense! In around 2000 I vehmently conveyed this to some distinguished IIT alumni who happen to be among my friends …I lost them….out of ego & clear disagreement to it … NOW to you they are listening & there will be conclaves I know. Whwn do we get out of it. the I & I phenomenon.

  6. Mr Murthy has become an old man, may be successfull in his carrier, He could not analyse India education system, facilities and standard being a financially reach man. He may comment, Forget about the statement of This old Man.

  7. I feel that the quality of education is depend on quantity of students . Today we have seen that the government level decision has increased the seats of ITT but the academic resources are not increase . it is not only related to IIT but entire our higher education system. Contact based teacher are appointed especially our school system. if students just passed with 90% marks in SSC and HSC . How these marks represent the intellectual level strongest . Mr. Mourst is true in some cases that the coaching institute just make the IITain not make the intellectual IITian because they are know that number of students who crack the IIT exam will open the DHANWARSHA. but it is not easy to evaluate this matter with coaching institute . if our government seriously work with higher education system other than IIT and this will open a new window for young person that do something better life , money and social status for his/her Nation and family , i think that will reduce the influence of IIT and a good number of students will become the future of Nation not just IITian.

  8. Thanks to Hon. N.R. Narayan Murthy for bringing to the lime light the bitter facts about the present scenario in coveted IITs in India. If IITs can’t produce engineers of desired quality what about other technical institutes all over India. However, IITs can’t complain regarding the quality of entrants. IITs are autonomous and free to have their own JET at all India level. It should be realised by all concerned that blaming coaching classes is not going to resolve the problem. It is simply to passing bucks on somebody else. It otherwise means if GOOD and BRILLIANT STUDENTS are coming to the institutes then the credit of outgoing engineers is that of IITs.
    The situation has changed a lot in last 5-10 years. Technical education has reached to villages through establishment of engineering colleges and polytechnics and even average and below average students have chance to enter in to this professional education. Every proud Indian should appreciate this fact and should plan to counter the situation arising out of this.
    To overcome such hurdle an innovative scheme was implemented under the guidance of Dr. Arun Nigavekar (Ex. Chairman UGC) at Gokhale Education Society’s College of Engineering, Nashik. The concept of ONE STEP Down and Four Steps Ahead was introduced. The students in engineering colleges are coming with different socio, economic and educational backgrounds. The HSC curriculum taught has no connection with the further courses. To acquire such connection a BRIDGE COURSE is designed and implemented to connect the HSC students with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics with corresponding APPLIED subjects in engineering. It is observed that the understanding of all the subjects has improved a lot. The results of university clearly show considerable improvement. The % of full pass which was earlier 15% increased up to 40%.The result which was 52% (with ATKT) has risen to 81% (with ATKT). It is hoped when a budding engineering college can do a unique contribution IITs can do a lot and lot more. –Dr. S.M. Kulkarni

  9. It is funny that someone who has ABSOLUTELY ZERO contribution to academics runs his mouth like this. Does his company ever invest in research? Or attempt to collaborate with universities? Surely sir, you know that research is not carried out on empty bellies without funding? In good Indian/foreign universities, it is common to find research/PhD students funded by IBM, Microsoft or Intel. But NOT Infosys. Mr Narayanmurthy, talk is cheap. Act on your own words, if you are so passionate about IITs being more into research. All your empty words will not get these institutions anywhere.

  10. Mr. Murthy has hit a very relevant point. It is a fact that the quality of IIT entrants in past few years has gone down considerably. But, I don’t agree that it is because of only the coaching angle. It may be one factor. However, the much much bigger factor which many of us find difficult to say (even if we agree in our heart) is the role of Govt. reservation policy that sacrifices many bright students coming from forward classes just to accommodate candidates from reserved category. With the OBC reservation coming into effect almost 50% of the seats are now reserved. If you analyse the performance in JEE you would yourself see a huge gap between the cut off marks for general candidate and the candidate from reserved category. When you admit students on the basis of their cast (what a dirty game these politicians have played with this country to deprive it with the services of the bright and capable candidates) rather than their merit, how can you expect them to be engineers of world class. Till the reservation was confined to only 15-20% of seats to SC/ST candidates, because majority of the seats were still being filled through merit, the ill effects of reservation policy were not so visible. But, now with OBC reservation also and with half of the seats being reserved the adverse effect (in terms of the down slide in the quality of the product) is getting more and more clear. I am sure in times to come you will see this down slide reaching an even more alarming proportion.

  11. i am agreed but industrialisation and moreover, education of any indian institute (including IIT) is so poor that it basically raise such type of intitutions.

  12. Indeed Shri Narayan Murthy owner, mentor and worker of Infosys achieved a lot with minimum input and remarkably became a successful software tycoon. He nicely tapped the benefit of tax concessions given to software units by GOI and enjoyed enough. Compared to Infrastructure oriented units like Refinery, Steel,Auto or Other manufacturing sector, his sector can be established at cheaper input cost. Undoubtedly, he is counted among the successful rich individual and enjoyed the fruit of hard work done earlier.Let us see what he preaches and where he stands compare to others
    There is famous character in Ramayana, known as Kalnemu, who was given a job to stop the Lord Hanuman to reach Lanka before sunrise. Pl. ponder over some of my observations.
    He talks about funding pattern of researches in IITs but he knows and we also know that how much till date he has given to any IITs or NIts.. All of us know that even annual salary budget of an old IIT is about 30-40 crore rupees. Defence is major area of research for making a nation strong one. I can challenge his Infosys has ever given any project of worth say 100 crores to any IIT or NIT or Funded any project of DRDO or even any other defence lab. Selling of banking software’s and maintaining the transaction and making money is one thing and do in return to improve the research and education in the IIT or NIT is another thing. Pl.search when he had donated say 100 crores for the welfare of soldiers or to develop new missile or to develop new weapon system required to enhance or strategic capability.
    How many hostels for downtroden or poor section of society he has established. How many hospitals he has opened like Tata sons and Birla,s . How many times Mr Ratan Tata or some other prominent member of Birla or Ruiya group or even Mukesh Ambani group has camedown to pass such observations about IIT. Why only Narayanmurty is always talking on these things. Every one knows that JRD was main force to establish IISc Bangalore, one of top class institution of higher learning, and his family gave enough to the nations. where as people like Narayanmurty, without contributing anything who believes only in lecturing and discharging idealism and satisfying Par Updesh Kusal Bahu Tere phrase. Use all the facilities but dont give anything in return. He did Masters from IIT kanpur but till date pl.ask him and verify how much money he has given to that institute as a grant to do some cutting edge research where as we know what other industrialist did to Harvard. His own company pays very less compare to other big software giants like Microsoft, IBM or Facebook and certainly there is no comparison with banks visitng campuses. No one takes infosys seriously in IITor IIM. It is his frustation, not a frank view and a clever talk to ruin the IIts.
    I request our media to behave responsively and should not give too much weight to people like Narayanmurthy that too on technical education. Let he be given enough coverage on problems and complexity of ICT sector and related business models. How come he derives 20-80 ratio of good and poor students in IIT. Pl.come and see how much dedication people are showing in doing their work in IITs and pl.compare it with other institutions. IITs are world class system and it may come within top fifty provided Govt of India should not give any importance to people like him and just bring a new ways of governing IIts with professional touch. It is not ranked in top 100 universities because of its governance model, our own rules and our obligations to cater vast segment of society with numerous constraints and also due to some peculiar characteristics of rating yardsticks like number of foreign students and faculty members etc.

  13. I AM DOING M.TECH(SECOND-YEAR )IN IIT ROORKEE. MR. MURTHY SAYS 100% FACT.
    BUT IN IIT’S STUDENTS NOT GOING ANY THING .IN IIT PEOPLE TREATING THE M.TECH & PH.D IS LOWER THAN THE UG , THIS IS A MAJOR PROBLEM & IN THE PLACEMENTS ALSO THEY ARE NOT RECRUITING PG&PH.D STUDENTS , THAT’S PEOPLE ARE ALSO NOT INTERESTED TO STUDY PG&PH.D , I FEEL THAT IN INDIA UG IS MORE SUFFICIENT , INDIA GIVING ZERO(0) IMPORTANCE TO PG& PH.D SCHOLAR…ONE OF THE WORSE EDUCATION SYSTEM IN INDIAN SYSTEM , U CAN’T FIND ANY WHERE IN THE WORLD THIS KIND OF FUCKING SYSTEM , SIMPLY USELESS , I DON’T WANT TO STUDY HERE ,BUT MY PARENTS FORCED ME TO STUDY .INDIA IS NOT A STAGE OF RESEARCH IT IS IN A STAGE OF COPY & PASTE STAGE , WHO WILL BOTHER ABOUT THESE THINGS , STUDENTS ARE 100 % NARROW MINDED ,THEY DON’T WANT WHAT’S GOING ON AROUND THE WORLD ,I TOLD & DISCUSSED WITH SOME OF FRIEND BUT THEY SCOLD ME & INSULTED ME .WHAT CAN I DO .LET THEM GO TO HELL . BUT I WILL DO JOB IN ABROAD ONLY
    THANK YOU FOR GIVING OPPORTUNITY TO WRITE HERE.

  14. ACTUALLY THE SCENARIO IS DIFFERENT IN ABROAD FOR RESEARCH STUDENTS COMPANY’S WILL CONTRIBUTE FUNDS. BUT IN INDIA NO ONE CAN BOTHER AND PUT EVEN A SINGLE RUPEE. FUCKING PEOPLE LIKE ANIL,MUKESH(AMBANIES ) ,TATA,BIRLA, ALL SOFTWARE FUCKING CEO’S ARE EATING JOB HOLDERS FLUSH ,SIPPING BLOOD , WHY DON’T THEY SHOW ON INTEREST ON RESEARCH IN INDIA.IF I SAY SOME PEOPLE WILL HURT, BUT IT’S FACT. BUT ONE THING IS TRUE ….? SOME STUDENTS REALLY POOR ,THEY DON’T NOW FLUENT ENGLISH IT SELF ,THEY ALWAYS PREFER TO SPEAK IN HINDI ONLY.THEY DON’T WANT TO WORK ANY WHERE IN THE WORLD ,SIMPLY SOME OF STUDENTS ARE QUITE NARROW MINDED PEOPLE. BUT NO ONE CAN DO ANY PRECAUTIONS OVER COME OUT OF THAT PROBLEM …

  15. INDIAN IT IS NOT IN A STAGE TO IMPROVE & ENCOURAGE PH.D & M.TECH ,
    WE CAN DO ONLY COPY & PASTE , THIS WORK CAN DO A LKG STUDENT , BUT ENGINEERING STUDENTS ARE NOT THINKING ABOUT DOING INNOVATIVE ALWAYS TRY TO MANIPULATE & COMPLETES THEIR STUDENTS AS FAR AS POSSIBLE ,THEY ARE GOING FOR IT (SOFTWARE )JOBS & ENJOYING AMERICAN DOG -BISCUITS .AN SOFTWARE ENGINEER CAN WORK ENTIRE MONTH FOR 500 US DOLLARS , BUT IN USA ENGINEERING GRADUATES NEVER WORK FOR 500 USD, WHY DON’T OUR FRIENDS NEVER SEE OUTSIDE OF THE COUNTRY WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH GOING ON …LIKE IN CHINA , WHY DON’T WE THINK AT LEAST ONE MINUTE …PLEASE MY DEAR FRIENDS PLEASE RETHINK OVER IT , KEEP OUR COUNTRY IN TOP WORLD RESEARCH BOWL .

  16. While blaming coaching classes for the decline in quality of IIT entrants, Narayana Murthy omitted to tell his audience that he himself has substantial private investment in money-spinning IIT test preparation business.
    Catamaran, Murthy’s private equity firm, has invested Rs 2.5 crore in ACE, a Bangalore–based test preparation firm that offers training for the IITJEE, AIEEE, PMPD, CBSE-11 & 12, CET, Foundation IIT and NTSE.

  17. Krishna, Pratik, meera, A K Sharma and Pankaj Kumar have given very thoughtful statements on the subject and many others. First of all somebody said something should not cause any perturbation, since it has always been like this. However, if we want a change, I have only to change myself, whatever is my profession by trying to be a sincere, honest, single minded person. However I would like to share an observation that in US almost all Indian students, whether from IIT or not work very hard to earn their degree. They cook the food, buy vegetables, clean the house (occasionally), do TA duties seriously and their own academic work, and even publish paper. In India a M.Tech. of ME student will leave the campus at the very first call (religious things, family matters, etc etc). Rarely we see a student who is working 14 hours a day or so which is required for some visible results. They are far too busy with attending interviews, preparing for the same etc.

    About ten or 15 years back hardly people will join a ph.d. program in high tech. education. However when it became essential to get promotion in educational institutions mushrooming across the country, a flood of these teachers could be seen to IITs. What is the motivation of doing a Ph.D. – getting promotion in a teaching institutions. In other areas ph.d.s do not get distinct advantage, as in US where a startingng salary for a ph.d. is around (little + or -) hundred thousand a year. We should definitely ,atleast, get some Indian problems solved through these ph.d. students by making it a precondition for the same. Some IITs need publication requirements before you can submit a thesis, this can be made better, particularly, when poor tax payer is paying for them. Finally, I close with this that to do research to make a road that lasts for 20 years is far superior to publish tens of papers in international journal in our national context. And if some one does that we must award him a ph.d. whether he published or not.

  18. Mr Naryana Murthy talks of IITs getting poor quality students. Yes, true IITs have been getting that since 1996 the time when IITs were forced to allow students to appear at IIT JEE umpteen number of times. As a result more than 50% of the students getting through IIT JEE were second or third timers with 4th timers coming close. The coaching classes has been ruling the roost since then. Today IITs are allowing students to appear only twice in IIT JEE and yet the quality of students being admitted has gone downhill on account of reserveations – let us make no bones about that. I wonder why cant GOI give the reserved students very good school education and then let them compete in open market. Why is it that reservations are there at every level of jobs and not just at entry level? Why should one get multiple benefits. But be that as it may, it is not for us to talk on that.
    One can blame the IITJEE style of questions where those who qualify do not have the fundamental concepts correct, can not apply the findamentals of science taught from class IX to XII and that is evident right from first year of their of study at IITs. The coaching classes rule due to very poor school education both in terms of (a) infra-structure, (b) lack of good teachers and (c) parental pressure. FIIT now starts coaching students from calss VI and the classes are full! talk of stupid parents and their aspirations
    If at all the government has any far sighted plans they should build good primary/sceondary schools with excellent teachers at every town/village. They should invest in having good teachers by way of (a) providing them with good housing (b) making sure that they have B Ed / BT degree (c) ensure re-training every 5 years (d) good pay packet (e) excellent infra-structure (f) good hostels for students at block level.
    Start building good schools with good teachers and infra-structure first from village/towns so that need for coaching classes go away and quality of students aspiring for entrance to colleges will rise. Doing away with Board examinations is the worst thing that could have been done.
    Good schooling will ensure good motivation. Students flood IITs to study M. Tech primarily to get a job and they are all from other colleges/institutes. Why dont IIT’s own B. Techs join M. Tech. program? The reason is simple. The B. Tech. students have already taken all the M. Tech level courses during their UG course of study. The M. Tech. course curricula can not be pegged any higher as the first year of M. Tech. study is devoted entirely to try to raise the level of the students admitted to the program to that of a real UG pass out. If one looks at the letter from the 2nd year IITR student, given below, one would easily understand how bad they are even in terms of writing skills.
    The MCQ type of questions at IIT JEE, GATE and other entrance examinations are unsuitable for giving good students a fighting chance to prove their merit and enter higher institutions of learning. Yet the examining bodies dont have an option given the RTI and other acts in force. I do understand that no examiner would dare take a chance today with essay type of questions in view of the neo-liberalism that is spreading and RTI and the CIC.
    Above all, faculty are stuck with the fact that their pay scales can not be any higher than that of an additional secretary. The babu dom does not want any one to get higher pay and benefits than them. The babu dom has brought in a rule that no faculty can earn anything extra by way of consultancy or projects which exceeds 3 months’ basic salary. No one would care two hoots for such a restriction at any class A or B or even C university in any western country.
    No one is ready to look and work towards making things work here in India.

  19. 1.Quality of the students of all the institutes of National importance in India should not be compromised with the crude political objectives of the Government
    2. To improve the Englishspeking, one paper in English should be included in all the National Level Entrance examinations as it was there in the earlier entrance tests for Engineering institutes.

  20. Murthy or those who are blaming the iitjee system seems to be frustrated as their children could not get admitted to iit. What contribution has been made by Murthy to Indian education system…..nil…why don’t he ask his family members to join teaching job to contribute to the nation…. will never do such as it need a a lot of scarifice and dedication…..as there will not be any earning in this occupation as in infosys……first he should contribute to the nation in true form and only then speak.

  21. u wanna say that those who dont get into IIT ar just crap……………??????????

    and let us remind ourself just cramming and going in IIT or those top 20% are of no use the are same like other normal peopele who just want a normal ” social life” they dont go to extend boundaries of education its those who dont get selected do the wonders

    so i think chosing on the basis of examinationis itself not suffecient to test the students

  22. would you rather talk about the poor quality of ministers we are having ..stop playing with the future of students…

  23. I don’t agree with Mr.Murthy.. Indian’s 75% of Internet companies like Flipkart, Myntra are founded by IITians. I am not saying this by assumption check http://www.woolor.com ..Find how many start-up dones by IITians They are hired by some of the best companies of sillicon valley same as your days.. They are also in research field,,, After some working years they are coming back to India to start their company..

  24. what mr murthy said is absolutely true because i study in an nit and even here i am a part of the small minority of students who cracked aieee without coaching. if this is the condition in nits then it it worse in iits. most guys who came from coaching institutes don,t do well as they do not have the proper understanding of any subject they can only solve entrance exam related questions.i think if this continues then the quality of iitians n nitians will degrade further.

  25. absolutely true story,,
    being a student of a reputed IIT , i see my friends are only interested in gaining cg by any means.. THEY ARE NOT INTERESTED in gaining the knowledge…. should this be the quality of students that we get here??? I think not …

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