How Narayana Murthy Thinks India Can Cement Its Place As A Software Leader
Narayana Murthy during an interview in Bangalore, India. (Photographer: Namas Bhojani/Bloomberg)

How Narayana Murthy Thinks India Can Cement Its Place As A Software Leader


Improvement in education system is crucial for India to cement its position as global leader in software services and will involve strengthening universities that specialise in technology and raising their research contribution to the $125 billion industry, Infosys Co-Founder Narayana Murthy said on Monday.

Murthy flagged “poor” quality of computer science teaching in many of the second and third tier engineering colleges and asserted that education system has to move towards igniting curiosity, critical thinking, problem solving and learnability, qualities that can be inculcated “only by good quality teachers”.

These teachers must pass the muster by clearly demonstrating their computer science skills and as well as english speaking abilities, and draw salaries that are three times average starting salary in the Indian software industry, he said.

“Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education...The first requirement for our dream of making India's position as a global leader in software services industry permanent is improving education system,” Murthy said at N Seshagiri Memorial Lecture organised by National Informatics Centre.

Suggesting a multi-pronged approach for achieving this, he said that universities and colleges specialising in engineering and technology need to be strengthened. Also, companies need to mount massive initiatives to provide strong technical foundation to employees who join them, and create mechanisms to include online education and smart classrooms for helping staff to cope with new technologies and domains, he added.

“Despite effort by the government at Centre and state and private sector, we have not moved up significantly in global rankings in engineering education,” he said.

He also drew attention to the low research contribution of the Indian higher education system to the Indian software services industry which has contributed $125 billion in export earnings last year. The only two formalised methodologies introduced to the world from India were Global Delivery Model and 24 hour workday based on collaborative distributed software development methodology, he pointed out.

“Unfortunately, not much progress has taken place in collaboration between the educational institutions and the industry,” he said.

There is ample opportunity for leading-edge research by academicians in areas of software services, Muthy added.

Muthy also exhorted the Indian software industry to do its bit and provide funding support to initiatives that are aimed at improving the quality of talent.

“Who pays for these all these expenses...I believe it is the responsibility of Indian software services industry to foot this bill. In a poor country like India it is unfair to expect public money to be used to add value to an industry, that has tax exemption and that generates $125 billion dollars exports. We must set an example for the other industries to take responsibility for improving the quality of talent required for our own success,” he added.

Currently, most project managers have low technical knowledge and rarely focus on innovation, technical review, innovations, designs and reusability, he said.

“Most of designers and analysts have little knowledge of the domains in which they are supposed to design information systems for corporations. This is a serious complaint by foreign clients against Indian software companies, therefore the in-company initiatives need to focus on enhancing domain and technical knowledge of project managers, designers and analysts in our industry,” he said.

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