If India were to implement NEP 2020 in the real sense and equip students for the future, it is important to train teachers said Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy. He was speaking at the Infosys Prize 2023 event hosted at the Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) in Bengaluru. He suggested that India should invest at least $1 billion annually for the next 20 years to train primary and secondary school teachers. Itwould promote and accelerate the invention of new processes, products, and services in the country.
He said that one possible way of accelerating the National Education Policy’s (NEP) outcome is to invite10,000 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 28 States and eight Union Territories, with the training programme lasting a year.
“Our nation, targeting a GDP of $5 trillion soon, will not find it a big financial burden. 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’,” Murthy said. Quoting experts, Murthy explained that each set of four trainers can train 100primary 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 teachers can themselves become trainers over five years.
“We must show much respect and pay better salaries to our teachers and researchers,” he added. STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT Murthy said that the stages of a nation’s development span from not utilising innovations to becoming inventors themselves. India has progressed from adopting innovations (Stage 02) to innovating on existing ideas (Stage 03) in sectors like technology and healthcare. Yet, it lags in key areas like city design and pollution control, which remain in Stage 1.
The path to Stage 4, where India invents new solutions, demands enhanced education, robust research, and swift implementation, he said, as also a culture of high aspirations, curiosity, and a disciplined work ethic. Shashi Kumar, General Secretary for the Karnataka Association of Management of Primary and Secondary Schools (KAMS), echoed Murthy, noting that teachers should also be given better salaries, and should be better equipped in tandem with evolving technologies not just in urban areas but in rural areas too. “The government lacks effective implementation of benefits and is still not considering giving basic facilities like health insurance. While training is necessary, increasing the number of teachers is also important, as teaching is never seen as a preferred career option,” he added.