N. R. Narayana Murthy, a well-known software icon, has advocated for India to spend $1 billion per year on STEM teachers’ training. Murthy proposed enlisting 10,000 retired accomplished teachers specializing in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) from both developed countries and India. He emphasized the inadequacy of this training alone, as well as the need for increased respect, higher pay, and better facilities for teachers and researchers.
Speaking to the press at the Infosys Science Foundation’s announcement of the Infosys Prize 2023, Murthy proposed a strategic approach to accelerating the outcomes of the National Education Policy (NEP). He proposed inviting 10,000 retired teachers to help establish 2,500 “Train the Teacher” colleges throughout India, each offering a year-long training program.
Murthy claimed that each group of four trainers could annually train 100 primary and 100 secondary school teachers, for a total of 250,000 teachers in each category each year.
Murthy proposed a $100,000 annual payment for each retired teacher to implement this ambitious plan, estimating a total cost of $20 billion over 20 years. Despite the significant financial commitment, he argued that it would not be burdensome for a country aiming for a $5 trillion GDP. Murthy defended the investment by quoting Derek Bok, former President of Harvard University, and saying, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”
In response to questions about the Infosys Science Foundation’s potential recommendation on teacher training amid competing budget priorities, Murthy expressed trust in the expert evaluation process. He encouraged such suggestions for the betterment of the country to be considered.
S Gopalakrishnan, co-founder and President of the Infosys Science Foundation’s Board of Trustees, echoed the need for a different approach as India’s GDP grows, emphasizing the importance of implementing the National Education Policy 2020. Murthy concluded by emphasizing the four stages of a country’s invention and innovation lifecycle, urging India to reach stage four in every critical area affecting its citizens’ lives. He emphasized the importance of improving research and education quality to achieve this goal.