A $100 million project, funded by the Philippines-based Asian Development Bank (ADB), will strive to improve secondary education and vocational training in the North-Eastern state of Meghalaya and to better equip students to find high-quality jobs after graduation. Enrolment in secondary schools in Meghalaya is only 29.9 per cent, compared to the national average of 45.5 per cent. Moreover, there is wide disparity in the 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 students are enrolled.
Most are from poor tribal families. As these schools are not eligible for infrastructure support from the government, their facilities are below national standards. Around 60 per cent of the state's secondary schools have no science laboratories and 72 per cent have no separate toilets for girls. Nearly 5,700 secondary school teachers do not have the required training. At the same time, the 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. The project, 'Supporting Human Capital Development in Meghalaya', is ADB's first loan in India focusing on boosting education and skills. An additional $2 million grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction will be used to strengthen the capacity of the state government, including education and labour, and non-government organizations to ensure the project reforms are sustained.