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INDIA: Building Bridges to Technical Excellence

Last Updated: Feb 2010
India: Building  bridges to Technical Excellence

India is renowned for producing graduates of the highest caliber but only very few received high-quality technical education. By partnering with IDA on an innovative education reform project, India has significantly bolstered the quality and availability of technical education, doubling the employment rate of graduates who are now better-suited to the needs of Indian industry.

Challenge

Some of the best technical and engineering minds in the world were trained in India’s renowned Institutes of Technology. These elite institutions are accessible to but a few qualified students: 1 percent to be specific. A large number of talented students receive education that are below global standards and of little relevance to the world of work. Recognizing the potential for growth in the knowledge-based global economy, India needs to overhaul its technical and engineering education sector to generate the pool of highly skilled professionals and creative thinkers to sustain the nation’s progress in infrastructure, power, water, information technology, and manufacturing. India needs to overcome the rigid thinking of the past and create a dynamic, demand-driven and quality-conscious technical education system.

Approach

Launched in 2002, TEQIP’s objectives were two-fold: to elevate academic excellence in participating technical education institutions; and to strengthen management capacity throughout the system. In order to qualify, institutions had to implement a set of reforms that promoted academic and administrative autonomy. Overall, 127 public and private technical education institutions in 13 states were competitively selected to participate. The project spearheaded a bottom-up approach that sought to empower the institutions to design and implement their own vision of academic excellence, while holding them accountable for providing quality education to their students.

Results

At the end of the project in 2009, over 60 percent of the supported institutions obtained substantial academic autonomy. With this newly gained authority, the institutions could achieve significant gains in academic excellence, specifically:

Highlights:
- Employment rates almost doubled, indicating improved relevance of programs and increased skill sets of graduates.
- Under TEQIP there was a 15 percent increase in students graduating with honors/distinction in both undergraduate and post-graduate courses.
- Post-graduate enrollments rose sharply – up 50 percent for Masters and 69 percent for Ph.D programs.
- Course offerings were restructured, modernized and vastly expanded in line with employer expectations.
- Ninety-three percent of 811 Bachelor courses supported by TEQIP were accredited or in the process of accreditation by a quality assurance agency.
- 220,000 students from disadvantaged backgrounds were assisted through provision of remedial teaching, workshops and establishment of “book banks.”
- 30,000 faculty and 13,000 staff underwent training and professional development.
- Sizeable increases in publications, patents and research and development (R&D) products being commercialized.

Students Graduating with Distinction
Employed graduates upon graduation
India: Building  bridges to Technical Excellence C

Management Capacity Building:
- Nearly all participating institutions took the first step towards autonomous governance by creating a Board of Governors.

Contribution

IDA committed US$189 million to TEQIP. To ensure sustainability of finances beyond the life of the project most institutions established four critical funds: Institutional, staff development, depreciation, and maintenance. Further, IDA contributed with advice to the national and state governments on decentralization, reform implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.

Next Steps

TEQIP was the first of a planned series of projects for the long term reform of the technical education sector. A second phase was approved in March 2010 and it equally seeks to contribute to a nation-wide improvement in quality of technical education. It will strengthen the core-concept from the first phase, particularly the competitive funding of institutions, autonomy and accountability reforms, and the bottom-up approach. Lessons emphasize the need to focus more on: capacity-building of government officials in technical education, boards of governors, directors and deans to implement the reforms; increase availability of pedagogical training; stop funding to non-performing institutions; project implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. In addition, the second phase will respond to two new needs in India: to prepare more post-graduate students to reduce the shortage of qualified faculty, and to produce more R&D in collaboration with industry.

read more on Haryana’s Success Story

 



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