WASHINGTON, June 23, 2023—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a $255.5 million loan to help India improve the quality of its technical education and provide more career opportunities to students. Over the next five years, the project will support around 275 government-run technical institutions in selected states across the country, benefitting more than 350,000 students each year.
Tertiary education in India has been growing steadily from 29 million enrolled students in 2011-12 to 39 million enrolled students across 40,000 institutions in 2019-20. While India’s tertiary education sector is among the largest in the world, recent studies note increased gaps in both technical and non-technical skills such as reasoning, interpersonal communication, and conflict resolution.
The Multidisciplinary Education and Research Improvement in Technical Education Project will support improving student skills and employability by focusing on better research, entrepreneurship, and innovation; and improve governance in technical institutions. As part of the project, students will get access to upgraded curricula including emerging technologies in communication and climate resilience. They will also benefit from better internship and placement services, including opportunities to network with professional associations.
“India has one of the largest and fastest-growing tertiary education systems in the world. The project will support Government of India’s National Education Policy 2020, which calls for modernizing this critical sector to better prepare students for emerging jobs and business opportunities,” said Auguste Tano Kouame, the World Bank’s Country Director for India. “Improving female participation in technical education will receive special attention.”
The project will support participating institutions to organize outreach programs providing prospective female students, parents, and guardians with more and better information on technical education program options, build sensitivity to gender issues, and address misconceptions about women’s capabilities in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Women students will also be encouraged to connect with mentors and alumni to promote completion of their course, and gain early exposure to the world of work. Currently, less than 30 percent of undergraduate engineering students are women, while women from the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes face a double disadvantage.
Studies also point to the need to improve India’s research and innovation linkages with industry and society. Out of 9,581 technical education institutions, only 504 have incubated at least one startup, and 525 founded two to four startups in the past two years. The project will support research and innovation in priority sectors like climate change and sustainable energy.
“The project will also help participating institutions strengthen their governance and internal quality assurance mechanisms by building their capacity for self-assessment, developing institutional quality policies, and preparing for accreditation,” said Nina Arnhold and Namrata Tognatta, Task Team Leaders for the project. “At the state level, the project will help set up quality assurance cells to support the country’s goal of providing greater empowerment and autonomy to educational institutions while also holding them accountable for delivering on learning and employability outcomes.”
The $255.5 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a final maturity of 14 years including a grace period of five years.