USD 100 million Asian Development Bank loan for education sector in Meghalaya

Written by PTI | Shillong | Updated: Oct 3 2013, 20:25pm hrs
Asian Development BankChief Minister Mukul Sangma welcomed Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan to improve education and skills in Meghalaya. (AP)
Welcoming the USD 100 million Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan to improve education and skills in Meghalaya, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma today said the fund will ensure that the state gets the best teachers, best infrastructure and improved skill developments for students.

"I am happy to announce that the Union Finance Ministry has given its clearance to the state government's ambitious project in Education which is about Rs 700 crore," Mukul said while addressing thousands of class XII students at a tablet distribution function here.

He said, "we are upgrading the necessary infrastructure of our educational institutions and training for the teachers to ensure that we have the best teachers in the state."

Stating that the government is 'focused' on investments in education sector, Mukul said education sector tops all the other sectors in the state in terms of employment generation.

An analytical data shown that education generated the maximum employment opportunities, he said.

Manila-based multilateral funding agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide UDS 100 million loan to improve secondary education and vocational training in Meghalaya in the next few years.

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," Sungsup Ra, Director of Human and Social Development Division in Asian Development Bank's South Asia Department, said.

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 per cent 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 per cent, compared with national average of 45.5 per cent. 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 per cent of the state's students are enrolled. Most are from poor tribal families.

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

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said an additional USD two 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.