The project will cover around 200 engineering institutes where at least 30% students are likely to be female and 20% from scheduled castes and tribes
WASHINGTON, June 24, 2016 – The World Bank Board today approved the US$ 201.50 million Technical Education Quality Improvement Project (TEQIP III) to enhance the quality and equity of engineering education across several focus states in India.
This is the third phase of an envisioned 15-year phased program initiated with the first phase of TEQIP from 2002 to 2009. TEQIP III builds on the significant results achieved in the two phases of the project which supported over 250 engineering institutes and thousands of faculty members from institutes such as NIT Rourkela, College of Engineering Pune, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Hyderabad, and BIT Mesra. It has made a considerable impact on the quality of education by implementing institutional and policy reforms focusing on institutional autonomy and accountability.
The project will support approximately 200 engineering education institutes in the focus states to produce higher quality and more employable engineers. Importantly, it will support Affiliating Technical Universities for the first time, and thereby multiply project benefits to all affiliated colleges, not just those being supported individually. It is estimated that, by project closing, roughly 3 million undergraduate and post-graduate students, of which 30 percent will likely be female and 20 percent from scheduled castes and tribes, and over 100,000 faculty and staff would have benefitted. It will also scale up post-graduate education, research, development and innovation at these institutions.
Focus on strengthening higher and technical education will help the younger generation acquire skills needed to produce a world-class technical workforce ready for the labor market,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director in India. “This project will help India meet its growing demand for highly qualified engineers - a demand which has been growing parallel to its rapid economic growth.”
Engineering education in India has grown rapidly in recent years. The intake of undergraduate students in engineering courses grew at 16.5 percent annually between 2006–07 and 2013–14.
TEQIP’s third phase will respond to the need to make distribution of skills among labor market entrants more equitable across different regions of the country by focusing on states with under-performing engineering education systems. Nearly 50 percent of the population lives in India’s low income states, hill states, and states of the north east with poverty rates close to 48 percent. In these states, 16.8 percent of those in higher education study engineering courses, against 28.4 percent in other states and access to engineering courses is particularly poor for students from poorer households. Even for those who are able to enroll, the challenge is not over, with specific groups such as students from scheduled castes and tribes and female students having lower transition rates from the first year to the second year, relative to other students, leading to higher dropout rates from students in this category.
Currently the poorer states face three key challenges. First, engineering institutes have limited authority in determining the goals and priorities of their institutes; in selecting leaders, faculty appointments, student admissions, and the structure and content of programs; carrying out financial management; and ultimately, improving student learning. Second, faculty vacancies are high and are often met through short-term hires, creating a lack of stability in faculty and making medium-term institutional planning and development difficult. Third, there are weak incentives and inadequate resources for research.
TEQIP III will intensify its efforts in the focus states in engaging state-level engineering institutes to catalyze changes in their education system.
At the institute-level, project-funded activities include training faculty and staff, investing in cutting-edge hardware and software, improving non-cognitive skills of students, student career counseling and placement and increasing interaction with industry, incentives for joint research and collaborations across disciplines and institutes as well as improved governance. At the system-level, the project will support the design and implementation of student assessment systems, sustainable faculty recruitment plans in select states, improving the efficiency of examination systems, innovations in technology-driven education, and better data management and use. Importantly, all focus state institutes will be twinned with high-performing engineering institutes from TEQIP I and II to facilitate knowledge exchanges, optimal use of resources and building long-term strategic partnerships.
The project is also designed to build capacity of technical education policy planners and administrators. Substantial efforts will be devoted to monitoring and evaluation to improve governance and ensure that the investments result in better performance of the selected institutions. Student assessment and faculty appraisal systems, including mentoring-related activities will be strengthened. It will support industry collaboration in research and student job placement; and ensure better data management to facilitate quality assurance, among others.
“There are three key areas of concern countrywide, but especially troubling in the poorer states: employability, research, and equity. A World Bank-FICCI study in 2014–15 found that employers were not satisfied with the technical skills of recent graduates. For improving these outcomes in the poorer states, the institutes need greater autonomy, full-time faculty members and incentives to invest in research. This will allow them and their faculty to teach students the skills that the Indian economy demands, in particular problem-solving skills, creativity and flexibility.,” said Tara Béteille, Senior Economist and Toby Linden, Lead Education Specialist, World Bank’s Task Team Leaders for the project.
The credit is from the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period.
 “Focus States” means the recipient’s states and union territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, or any successor(s) thereto; and any other of the Recipient’s states or union territories as may be agreed in writing with the Association from time to time. All remaining states are referred to as “other states”