The State of Meghalaya (Meghalaya) bounded on the North and East by Assam and on the South and West by Bangladesh, is spread over an area of 22,429 square kilometres. The State enjoys a temperate climate. The principal languages in Meghalaya are Khasi, Pnar and Garo with English as the official language of the State. Meghalaya comprises of the following 3 Divisions and 11 Districts.
Shillong is the capital of Meghalaya and is situated at an altitude of 1,496 meters above sea level. Shillong is also the headquarters of East Khasi Hills District. The capital city has a bracing climate throughout the year. The city is well connected with roads all-over, has its own charm that is different from other hill stations. Shillong presents a natural scenic beauty with waterfalls, brooks, pine grooves and gardens. This city has been the seat of Government since the consolidation of the British administration in this part of India more than a century ago. Total population of Meghalaya as per 2011 census is 2,966,889 of which male and female are 50.28% and 49.71% respectively. In 2001, total population was 2,318,822 in which males were 50.71% while females were 49.28%. Sex Ratio in Meghalaya is 989 females per 1000 males, which is above national average of 940 as per census 2011. In 2001, the sex ratio of females was 975 per 1000 males in Meghalaya
Meghalaya has rich mineral reserves (e.g. coal, limestone, and uranium), forest cover of more than 70%, and enjoys abundant rainfall. It has so far been unable to tap its rich resource base effectively owing to its hilly terrain, poor connectivity, and weak infrastructure. 70% of the labor force remains employed in low-skilled agricultural jobs. The industrial base is narrow with only limited processing and value addition taking place within the state. The youth, who constitute 35% of the population, are unable to compete because of the poor state of Meghalaya's secondary education and skills development programs. It is estimated that 60% of the secondary schools do not have science laboratories, 72% do not have separate toilets for girls, while 27% do not have access to reliable drinking water. Only 36% of Meghalaya's teachers at the secondary level are trained as against the national average of 90%. The drop-out rate at the secondary level is high because of the poor learning environment in schools, and the overall disconnect with the state's skill development and vocational training programs.
One of the strategic priorities for the Government of Meghalaya (GoM) is to balance the requirements of rapid economic growth and natural resource conservation. Keeping in view this priority, three areas of focus emerge – promoting inclusive growth with poverty alleviation, employment generation and livelihood promotion. While the GoM has been focusing on upgrading infrastructure development and incentivizing private investment, it is constrained by the state’s weak human capital profile. It thoroughly acknowledges that education and skill development will be the cornerstone of development for enhancing productivity and employability. ‘Supporting Human Capital Development in Meghalaya (SHCDM)’ project has been designed to improve the Secondary and Higher Secondary (SHS) education and skill development in the State with the support from Asian Development Bank (ADB).
This is the first ADB supported project in India to focus on reform of SHS education and skills development. It has several innovative features addressing the education and skill development in the State. Broadly under the project 117 SHS schools are upgraded to the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) standards, training of SHS teachers for improved teaching skills, development of master teacher on various subject. The Skills Challenge Fund (SCF) modality has been adopted to draw in private training agencies for providing training options to meet the needs of different segments: rural and urban youth, girls and boys, dropouts (at various levels) and school graduates, and those seeking employment within and outside Meghalaya. District level skills-gap analysis and M&E studies, that are sensitive to gender equality and social inclusion, will be conducted to ensure that training is linked to demand, and leads to the desired results, i.e., placement for wage employment or enhanced remuneration for self-employment.
The project, starting from 2014 to 2019, will reinforce and build on GoM’s efforts to improve road connectivity and power supply, attract industries, and enhance livelihoods through the flagship Integrated Basin Development and Livelihood Program. These initiatives are gradually stimulating economic activities and demand for skilled jobs within the state. The project is therefore, very timely, and ensures convergence with GoM’s initiatives. Given its strong pro-poor and gender focus, the project will support GoM in creating a virtuous cycle of inclusive growth in the state.
The impact of the project will be enhanced employability of youths of Meghalaya. Its outcome will be improved quality, delivery, and access to SHS education and technical and vocational skills training in Meghalaya.