New Delhi: Technical colleges in 19 states including Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have seen a 40 per cent increase in accredited institutions, higher percentage of GATE qualified students and higher retention rate of SC/ST and women students at the end of three years of TEQIP-III, a Modi government programme to improve technical education in low income, northeastern and hill states.
Under the project, the Modi government had in 2018 appointed graduates from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and National Institutes of Technology (NITs) as faculty in colleges of the target states.
The Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP) is a World Bank-funded programme for improvement of technical education in low income states, hill and northeastern states.
They include Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Andaman and Nicobar.
According to the report prepared by the National Project Implementation Unit (NPIU), a unit under the Ministry of Education, which is managing TEQIP-III, the intervention has been successful at many levels — in terms of high accreditation rate of institutions, which defines the quality of a institute; more GATE qualified students, which shows quality of education has improved; and fewer dropouts, which shows remedial interventions are working.
Officials at the NPIU told ThePrint that before the intervention in 2018, 10 per cent of institutes in these states were accredited with the National Bureau of Accreditation (NBA). This has now changed to 54.6 per cent in 2021.
“More than 54 per cent institutes including 91 technical colleges and nine universities now have NBA accreditation in our focus states,” Central Project Advisor, NPIU, P.M. Khodke told ThePrint.
He further said that the national average of students clearing the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), a test for admission to masters programmes in engineering and for jobs in the public sector, has also gone up because of more students in low-income areas qualifying the test.
“Earlier the national average of GATE qualified candidates used to be around 15-16 per cent, but in 2020 it went up to 19.6 per cent,” he said. “This is because more students from low-income areas, which are our focus states, are qualifying the exam.”
Retention rate among SC/ST students rises
Apart from this, the retention rate of SC/ST and women students also increased in the last three years, according to the report.
The report states that before the TEQIP intervention, only 12 per cent students from SC/ST category were able to make it beyond the first year of college, but by the end of three years, the retention rate has risen to 62 per cent. Similarly for women, the retention rate has increased from 43 per cent in 2018 to 71.6 per cent in 2021.
The intervention through TEQIP included better faculty in colleges, better infrastructure that included installation of smart boards in classrooms and guidance from mentor colleges that were well performing, the report said.
“Apart from accreditation and infrastructure, we also paid a lot of attention to taking remedial classes for students. We noticed that many students, especially women were not able to pass first year and dropped out,” Khodke said. “This was changed gradually when the faculty members appointed under TEQIP started taking remedial classes with such students. The retention rate has improved a lot but this is just the start of change and there is a long way to go.”
The project ends on 31 March this year after which a final project analysis report will be released by the government.
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