As advised by the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Government of India, ADB is designing a loan for 'Supporting Human Capital Development in Meghalaya.' The proposed project will improve the quality and delivery of secondary education (including teacher training) and skill development programs thereby, reinforcing the efforts of the Government of Meghalaya (GoM) towards developing the state's human capital. ADB will be guided by the two flagship central programs, namely the National Skill Development Mission and the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) or the National Secondary Education Mission (and related teacher training schemes), and help to operationalize these effectively in Meghalaya.
Given GoM's long-term vision and commitment, ADB will provide loan assistance to support the following outputs:
(i) Meghalaya's Skill Development Mission operationalized: According to the National Skills Policy, 2009, skill development should be opened up to the private sector and decentralized to the state level. The EPC needs significant funding and capacity building support to operationalize the Meghalaya Skill Development Mission. Therefore, under this component, the proposed loan will support the following:
- Expansion of the skill development infrastructure: Since most of industrial training institutes (ITIs) and polytechnics in Meghalaya are located at the headquarters of the seven districts of Meghalaya, the project will set up livelihood development centers (LDCs) in 39 Blocks to reach out to the smaller towns and villages. The LDCs will offer skilling programs based on the local natural and human resource base. Current government facilities and buildings will be upgraded into LDCs. No new construction will be undertaken.
- Catalyzing outcomes-based skill development through PPPs: A "Skills Challenge Fund" (SCF) will be established to provide GoM with a flexible modality to draw in private sector skills providers for imparting industry-linked or demand-based training in priority areas. The SCF will also be open to government entities, industrial training institutes, and polytechnics to incentivize them to redesign and improve their own programs. The MoUs with private and public skills providers will lay down placement and quality-linked benchmarks, and funds would be released from the SCF accordingly. The project will also fund hardware and software selectively (e.g. management information systems, V-SAT links, training equipment, computers, projectors etc.) to improve the delivery and reach of skills training in priority areas.
(ii) Improved learning environment in secondary schools: This project will upgrade existing secondary school buildings and teacher training centers (TTCs) which are not covered under central Government's schemes to improve learning and teaching outcomes. Majority of Meghalaya's children, especially those from poorer backgrounds, study in these schools. The upgrading will be linked to concrete reforms which will be undertaken by the schools and TTCs so that key parameters such as teacher attendance and the ratio of pupils to trained teachers improves. School Management Committees (SMCs) of the selected schools will enter into MoUs with the Department of Education committing to these reforms. ADB will not fund the construction of new buildings but only upgrade and/or reconstruct existing buildings.
(iii) Strengthened capacity in relevant Departments: Technical assistance (TA) will be provided to ensure the sustainability of initiatives proposed under the project.
A PPTA is required to help ADB in designing this loan.
STATUS AS OF 24 MAY 2013
the PPTA has been substantially completed.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
A predominantly tribal state, Meghalaya has rich mineral reserves (e.g. coal, limestone, and uranium), forest cover of more than 70%, and enjoys abundant rainfall. It has so far been unable to tap its rich resource base effectively owing to its hilly terrain, poor connectivity, and weak infrastructure. 70% of the labor force remains employed in low-skilled agricultural jobs. The industrial base is narrow with only limited processing and value addition taking place within the state. A recent skills-gap analysis prepared by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) shows that there is scope for absorbing skilled workers of different levels in sectors such as handloom, handicraft, horticulture, fruit processing, hospitality, construction, healthcare, mining, and IT and IT-enabled services within Meghalaya. Given their fluency in English, the workers of Meghalaya can potentially look for jobs in hospitality, retail services, healthcare, IT and IT-enabled services, and as airport / airline staff outside the state as well.
Unfortunately, the youth, who constitute 35% of the population, are unable to compete for these jobs because of the poor state of Meghalaya's secondary education and skills development programs. It is estimated that 60% of the secondary schools do not have science laboratories, 72% do not have separate toilets for girls, while 27% do not have access to reliable drinking water. Only 36% of Meghalaya's teachers at the secondary level are trained as against the national average of 90%. The drop-out rate at the secondary level is high because of the poor learning environment in schools, and the overall disconnect with the state's skill development and vocational training programs. While 90% of the employment opportunities require vocational skills, Meghalaya's education system continues to focus on rote learning. As most skill development programs are funded by central ministries, GoM has limited flexibility in tailoring them to meet the state's emerging priorities. These programs have become out-of-date since they are not linked with the private sector, i.e. the demand side. Their placement record is poor which adds to the general stigma associated with vocational and technical training.
Meghalaya's State Development Report 2008-09 emphasizes the need to strengthen physical infrastructure to widen the economic base, and for increased investment in 'human capital development for improving the coverage and quality of education and health care, and promoting skills development and vocational training, especially for women, so that the economy can shift from being predominantly agrarian to higher value-added activities.' GoM is therefore committed to developing its human resources to enhance their employability and income-earning potential. It wants to strengthen the large network of government aided and ad-hoc secondary schools in which the majority of the state's poor students study. GoM constituted the Meghalaya Employment Promotion Council (EPC) in 2011 to promote skill development so that the youth can compete effectively for better jobs within and outside the state. The EPC has been designed to do away with the traditional approach whereby different central Ministries fund their individual skilling programs in a compartmentalized and rigid manner, and instead take a more dynamic state-wide view. It is emphasizing placement-linked skill development involving the private sector.