Innovative Strategies in Higher Education for Accelerated Human Resource Development in South Asia

Publication | January 2014

This report identifies priorities in TVET and higher education in South Asia on how to meet the emerging needs for skilling a large number of young people to turn them into a productive and competitive force in labor markets.

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This publication highlights priorities and strategies in meeting current and emerging needs for skills development in South Asia. The report is in line with ADB’s effort to support its developing member countries’ priorities toward global competitiveness, increased productivity, and inclusive growth. It also identifies key issues, constraints and areas of improvement in making skills training more responsive to emerging labor market needs in South Asia as an important factor in sustaining high economic growth. 

Elements of a strategic response

For South Asia to advance in the development of its higher education systems, these tasks should be carried out to lay the foundation for subsequent reforms:

  • Depoliticize higher education systems, institutions, and campus life.
  • Devise a long-term strategy for higher education to steer investments and decision making.
  • Choose one institution in each country and develop it into a flagship research university over the coming decade.
  • Give higher education institutions greater autonomy of action, combined with increased accountability for performance at all levels.
  • Find ways to diversify and expand the revenue available to underwrite improvements that must be made.
  • Pay more explicit attention to the relevance of higher education.
  • Establish reliable standards of quality within public and private higher education
  • Invest significantly in information and communication technologies infrastructure that ties together regional populations, university students, institutions of higher education, research centers, and public service agencies into a national knowledge sharing, e-learning, and innovation network.
  • Prepare, propose, and approve an umbrella higher education law that formalizes as many of the modifications suggested above as possible.

About the report

The report was completed in 2012 under the Australian AID-supported Phase 1 of Subproject 11 (Innovative Strategies for Accelerated Human Resource Development) of RETA 6337 (Development Partnership Program for South Asia).


  • Executive Summary
  • Economic Growth, the Knowledge Society, and Higher Education
  • Competitiveness, Innovation, and Human Resource Development in South Asia
  • Higher Education in South Asia and Beyond
  • Going to University: Who Gets In and Who Does Not
  • Quality in Higher Education: Everyone Wants It—How Do You Get It?
  • Relevant Higher Education: The 21st Century Goal
  • Steering Higher Education Systems and Institutions: Governance and Management
  • Collaboration and Competition, Partnerships and Links
  • Paying for Higher Education: Revenues, Expenditures, and Trends
  • Moving Forward
  • References
  • Appendixes

Additional Details

  • Education
  • Tertiary and higher education
  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • Maldives
  • Nepal
  • Sri Lanka
  • 140
  • 8.5 x 11
  • RPT136076
  • 978-92-9254-421-8 (print)
  • 978-92-9254-422-5 (electronic)

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