Bhubaneswar: To improve quality, equity and governance in higher education institutions of Odisha, the World Bank has signed a loan agreement of $119 million with the Odisha Higher Education Programme for Excellence & Equity (OHEPEE) Project in New Delhi.
The agreement for the project was signed between Union Joint Secretary of Department of Economic Affairs Sameer Kumar Khare and Secretary of State Higher Education Department GVV Sharma and Acting Country Director of World Bank-India Hisham Abdo.
“Students and young people from all backgrounds, including Scheduled Tribes and other disadvantaged groups, will have access to quality higher education,” he added.
National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) accredited Government, Government-aided and block grant colleges are eligible to apply for grants under the project. The institutes will be required to submit their Institutional Development Plan (IDP), which will be evaluated by a committee comprising eminent academics from inside and outside the State.
Selection for the first round has begun under which 70 colleges and six State universities have been selected based on their IDPs. 70 more institutes will be selected in the second round which will commence after one year.
The grants will assist affiliated colleges in achieving autonomous status, improve the examination system, establish support centres in tribal-dominated districts and help modernise university and college infrastructure. Short-term trainings for faculty, online student feedback system on faculty performance and certain skill development courses will also be undertaken at the State-level to improve quality of teaching and learning.
According to a World Bank statement, the project will help Odisha to expand the opportunities for students aspiring for quality higher education and help them become readily employable in the labour market. The $119 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a 5.5-year grace period and a maturity of 18 years.