Infosys founder and chairman emeritus N.R. Narayana Murthy on Monday said India can break into the top 10 of the Human Development Index (HDI) by harnessing education. The country currently sits at 130.

In his address at the 96t{+h}annual convocation of the University of Mysore at a packed Crawford Hall here, Dr. Murthy said the “grand challenges” in front of India can be tackled if excellence, merit and achievement are given importance.

“I want every child to receive the best help from teachers to rise to their maximum potential without being hindered by financial constraints. I don’t want access to quality and high-leverage education to be restricted to only the elite, as it is today. It should be made available to the poorest of the poor also,” he said.

His vision

Elaborating on his vision for primary and secondary education in the country, Dr. Murthy advised schools and universities to inspire children the world over. “I want our children to focus on problem solving in order to improve the context rather than focusing on rote learning,” he said.

Observing that the market would be the ultimate decider of the efficacy of every school, Dr. Murthy said the only function of the government is to regulate the quality of education by setting standards.

He also had a word for those who think education is too expensive. “I would like to remind them of the words of Derrick Bok, former president of Harvard University, who said ‘If you think education is expensive, try ignorance’,” Dr. Murthy said.

The Infosys co-founder explained that the purpose of education is to create a civilised society where everyone has equal opportunities to their lives, where every child has food, shelter, healthcare and education, where duties come before rights.

Mysore University Vice-Chancellor K.S. Rangappa, registrar C. Basavaraju and registrar (evaluation) Rajanna were present.