ADB to provide $100 mn loan to improve education in Meghalaya

The project to support human capital development will be it's first loan in India to boost education and skills.

New Delhi: Manila-based multilateral funding agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide USD 100 million loan to improve secondary education and vocational training in Meghalaya.

"A new USD 100 million project funded by ADB will improve secondary education and vocational training in India's Meghalaya state so students are better equipped to find high- quality jobs after graduation," it said in a release.

The project to support human capital development will be it's first loan in India to boost education and skills.

"Many of today's students in Meghalaya are the first in their families to go to school, so we need to make sure they have the right curriculum, teaching, and equipment," said Sungsup Ra, Director of Human and Social Development Division in ADB's South Asia Department.

Ra said the funding will help students stay in classrooms and get the skills to get the jobs later on.

The project will upgrade to national standards the infrastructure of 117 government-aided private secondary schools and provide laboratories, libraries, clean drinking water, computers, and separate toilets for girls and boys, as well as access for physically-challenged.

This is expected to improve learning environment for 18,000-20,000 students, around 40 percent of whom will be girls. Students in remote locations will be able to work with tablet computers with built-in solar panels that are loaded with secondary school courses.

Enrollment in secondary schools in the state is only 29.9 percent, compared with national average of 45.5 percent. Also, there is wide disparity in quality of facilities and teaching between schools.

Of the 961 secondary schools in Meghalaya, 591 are government-aided private schools where 71 percent of the state's students are enrolled. Most are from poor tribal families.

ADB said around 60 percent of the state's secondary schools have no science laboratories and 72 percent have no separate toilets for girls, adding that about 5,700 secondary school teachers in the state do not have required training.

Moreover, state's technical and vocational institutions struggle to teach the skills the private sector needs, making it hard for youths to compete for formal jobs, particularly outside the state.

ABD said an additional USD 2 million grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction will be used to strengthen the capacity of related state government departments, including education and labour and non-government organisations to ensure the project reforms are sustained.