Narayana Murthy vs. Chetan Bhagat

For a long time, I have been writing about the ill-effect of coaching industry that prepares the aspirants for IITs. For all practical purposes and unfortunately too, the coaching mafia has taken over the business of education. It’s not the old tuition system on one to one basis. Coaching in class room ambience has made education a business of passing the tests and examinations instead of learning. It’s parallel rather the predominant sector where the parents are pouring in the money. The traditional schooling has become secondary. And the coaching institutes adopt many stinking means to attract students and make more money.

However, my thrust had been on IIT. I still feel that the individuals or administrative agencies in IITs responsible for the entrance examination are colluding with the coaching industry to make it a necessity and to grow. IITs have not tried to make the commercial coaching redundant. And that is certainly possible with proper question papers. If in our days in IIT, we couldn’t answer questions set for open book examination of physics where we were allowed to a carry all books, why is that the similar question papers can’t be used for entrance examination? Many times I feel that IITians themselves and even some teachers are behind the flourishing of the coaching industry. Some owners of these coaching centres are IITians.

But today I am writing for a different reason on the same subject. I didn’t like the comment of Chetan Bhagat on the views of NR Narayana Murthy, which was similar to my own. It was against all norms of Indian culture. I don’t know if Narayana Murthy would have got hurt or not, but I got shocked and hurt too. Chetan might have attained certain celebrity level through his writings, but his making of a sweeping remark on Narayana Murthy’s contribution to Indian IT sector was certainly not on expected line. (“It is ironic when someone who runs a body shopping company and calls it hi-tech, makes sweeping comments on the quality of IIT students.”) Narayana Murthy has become a benchmark of entrepreneurship in tech industry. He went for something that none did before him. Chetan must not underrate his contribution. I don’t think he is qualified enough to do that. If he considers himself someone high enough to pass judgment on any one, I just pity him. I think Chetan owes an apology to Narayana Murthy.

I myself and many believe that the quality of the students entering in and passing out has deteriorated. Reasons are many. While for the entering flux coaching is certainly responsible, for the outgoing lot the teachers and the administration must own responsibility. No excuse is good enough. Most of the teachers are hardly interested to know what’s going on in the industry. How can they make the students ready to accept the challenges in industry without that knowledge and networking with qualified executives and managers in the industry? Directors and teachers once selected in educational institutes such as IITs will have to set very high benchmark for themselves full with many sacrifices.

PS: As reported, Chetan has apologized.

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