Speaking at IIT-Gandhinagar, Murthy said that the IITs are no longer the quality institutions they were in the 60s and 70s. Stating that the IITs and IIMs have had very few world-class researches coming out of them in the decade gone by, he said, "In 2004, China produced 2,652 PhDs in computer science and in that year the figure was 24 in our country."
He added, "This is truly worrisome. Focus on researches has diminished in the IITs and they have become just a teaching institution and we all know that it is not the way to go about it."
Stressing that IITs are no longer having the sheen of the old days, the Indian IT legend, "In the last 15 to 20 years, IITs have lost all the sheen that they had once upon a time. In 1967, at the electrical engineering department of IIT-Kanpur there were about 60 to 70 students registered for PhD. But today, at the same department if there are five PhD students joining in a year, that would be fantastic."
Murthy also said that even the best scholars from the IITs feel at sea when they pursue researches in institutes like the MIT and Harvard. He said, "The primary difference that I have found between the system of education in India and other countries, particularly the US, is that they focus on problem solving and relating theories to reality around them. These two things are lacking in the education system in India."
Attributing the drop in the high standards of IITs to the boom in the number of coaching classes for joint entrance examinations, he said, "Today, students prepare hard for a year solving sample questions for IIT-JEE. One of these samples matches in the entrance examination and they crack the test."