Long-term Objectives

The Project supports the Country Partnership Strategy and addresses the three engagement areas of integration, transformation and inclusion. These engagement areas foresee increased agricultural productivity and support quality improvements of higher education to create a more skilled workforce that continuously improves the productivity of key sectors, including agriculture. The proposed Project is also a multi-Global Practice collaboration (Agriculture and Education) and is expected to support activities and results directly related to cross-cutting strategic areas of climate change, jobs and gender.

The proposed NAHEP would contribute to the achievement of four Sustainable Development Goals, namely:

  • Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all – promotes: (a) equal access to affordable vocational training; and (b) greater gender and wealth equity through universal access to quality higher education. Specifically, NAHEP would finance interventions that increase the supply of qualified technicians and teachers

  • Promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment, and decent work for all – seeks higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgradation and innovation.NAHEP would foster a stronger innovation culture by twinning participating AUs with other higher-performing centers of learning (both in India and internationally) and strengthening AU-private sector linkages to better orient student learning toward market-relevant skill sets.

  • Building resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation – would enhance scientific research, and substantially increase both the research and development (R&D) workforce and its associated budget.

  • Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts – would improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning. The proposed NAHEP would specifically target AU curricula reform to internalize climate change and resilience in current and future course content and tie this with experiential learning for certificate, undergraduate and post-graduate students for practical career applications.

Project Development objectives

The objective of the Project is to support Participating Agricultural Universities and ICAR in providing more relevant and higher quality education to Agricultural University students.NAHEP addresses quality by supporting interested AUs to propose and implement technically sound and verifiable investments that increase faculty performance, attract better students to these AUs, improve student learning outcomes and raise their prospects for future employability, particularly in the private sector.

NAHEP would target institutions that form the ICAR-AU System, consisting of State Agricultural Universities, Deemed Universities, Central Universities with Agricultural Faculty and Central Agricultural Universities.

Students would benefit from:

(a) a movement from teaching to learning-centered education, leveraging ICT and external partnerships
(b) Piloting effective stakeholder participation in curricula development, pedagogy options and course evaluation
(c) Increased equity in educational access through vocational and technical certificate programs
(d) An overall improvement in the learning and academic environment that would both expand and sharpen their skill set needed for future employment.

Faculty would benefit from:

(a) Increased collaboration among Indian AUs and with other universities globally to raise research quality and its linkage to educational quality and relevance
(b) Training and capacity-building to improve the delivery of education and its learning outcomes.

Institute would benefit:

(a) Governance & transparency
(b) Infrastructural development
(c) Productive campus culture and Intensive use of technology enabled learning

  • Increased AU on-time graduation rates, disaggregated by gender and SC/ST;
  • Increased cut-off scores for students in ICAR Entrance Tests, disaggregated by gender and SC/ST;
  • Increased student placement rates, disaggregated by gender and SC/ST;
  • Increased faculty research effectiveness; and
  • Number of project beneficiaries, disaggregated by students/ faculty, gender and SC/ST.
  • Increased visibility & technology use.

Project Components

Component 1

Support to Agricultural Universities: would finance investments by participating AUs to improve the quality and relevance of agricultural education and research toward agricultural transformation. The component would competitively award significant additional resources to participating AUs and would finance goods, works, non-consulting services, training and consultants’ services.

Sub-component 1a – Institutional Development Plans (IDPs)

It would provide Institutional Development Grants to selected participating AUs. The subcomponent would target reform-ready AUs and support competitively selected and performance-based IDPs. The IDPs would seek to improve:
(a) learning outcomes and future employment for AU students; and (b) faculty teaching performance and research effectiveness. Through the IDPs, the AUs would identify and prioritize key challenges, propose interventions to respond to these challenges, and set timelines and indicators for measuring achievement of greater quality and relevance attributable to these interventions. The participating AUs, through the IDPs, would also seek to foster both technical and financial partnerships.

Sub-component 1b – Centre of Advanced Agricultural science & Technology (CAAST)

It would provide CAAST Grants to selected participating AUs for the establishment of Centers for Advance Agricultural Science and Technology. The subcomponent would support competitively selected CAAST proposals from reform-ready AUs to establish multidisciplinary centers for teaching, research and extension on critical and emerging agricultural topics. Multi-stakeholder consultations would inform the geographic locations and core themes for the proposed CAASTs, after which participating AUs would compete for CAAST funding. Approved AUs would be financed through a CAAST subproject grant directly to the participating AU

Subcomponent 1c – Innovation grants (IG)

It would provide Innovation Grants to selected participating AUs for the carrying out of Innovation Plans. The Innovation Plans would support technical assistance and consultant services, including those required to: (a) make AUs reform ready (i.e., attain accreditation); and (b) promote mentoring of non-accredited AUs by existing reform-ready AUs and other interstate and international academic partnerships.

Component 2

Investment in ICAR Leadership in Agricultural Higher Education– would finance the carrying out of institutional reforms within ICAR in order to enhance ICAR’s effectiveness in coordinating, guiding and managing agricultural higher education and its interactions with AUs and key stakeholders nationwide through interventions that increase the quality and relevance of agricultural higher education. As ICAR is responsible for national coordination and quality assurance of agricultural higher education, the component would leverage ICAR’s comparative advantage in assessing systemic challenges across the ICAR-AU System and incubating solutions..

The component would finance goods, training, consultant services and non-consulting services and incremental operating costs and would include: (a) assessing options in the administration and award of ICAR’s technical and financial assistance to AUs; (b) structuring dialogue with State governments to catalyze their participation in raising the quality and relevance of agricultural higher education; (c) providing assistance to participating AUs for the development of IDPs, CAASTs and Innovation Plans; (d) establishing partnerships with globally recognized agricultural higher education institutions; (e) developing digital information systems for agricultural data collection, analysis and dissemination; (f) improving curricula review processes and methods to consolidate and disseminate global best-practices in agricultural education; (g) improving the all-India entrance examination in agriculture, including an on-line national examination system; (h) adopting next-generation management systems covering information, procurement, contract and financial management areas; (i) coordinating an External Advisory Panel of renowned agricultural education experts; (j) assisting agricultural universities to strengthen their linkages with industry; and (k) promoting the establishment of centers for career development at agricultural universities.

Component 3

Project Management and Learning– would finance goods, works, non-consulting services, training and workshops, and consultants’ services for the Project (other than those financed under subprojects) and incremental operating costs.

The component would strengthen ICAR’s management capacity for project implementation, including: (a) the establishment/maintenance of a Project Implementation Unit, a Steering Committee, a Technical Committee and a Monitoring and Evaluation Cell to ensure compliance with the Project’s procurement, financial management, safeguards and reporting requirements, and the carrying out of the administration, supervision, monitoring and evaluation of IDP Grants, CAAST Grants and Innovation Grants and/or proposals therefor; (b) the provision of training to ICAR and participating AUs to achieve and sustain increased quality, relevance and effectiveness of agricultural higher education. The component would also finance the dissemination and communication of project interventions and outcomes.

Institutional and Implementation Arrangements

NAHEP would be implemented by the Education Division/ ICAR. An NAHEP Steering Committee – headed by the Director General, ICAR and including representatives inter alia from agricultural universities, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, the private sector and any other institution in addition to or in substitution of the aforementioned as agreed with the Bank – would provide strategic and policy guidance to the proposed Project. A Project Implementation Unit (PIU), established within the Education Division/ ICAR and led by the Deputy Director General, Education, ICAR, would be responsible for the coordination and facilitation of overall project implementation. The PIU would include: (a) technical experts to oversee the subproject grants (i.e., IDPs, CAASTs and Innovation Grants) under Component 1; (b) change management expertise under Component 2; and (c) both newly contracted and seconded ICAR staff in the areas of project administration, financial management, procurement, monitoring, evaluation, management information systems (MIS), learning and capacity building, and social and environmental safeguards.

A results-based M&E system would monitor project processes using the following methods and tools: (a) a Results Framework that is derived from clearly identified goals, objectives, outputs and activities with corresponding indicators, means of verification and key assumptions; (b) an M&E strategy regarding information requirements, tools and methodologies for data collection, analysis and reporting; (c) a comprehensive M&E plan with clear roles and responsibilities with respect to data collection, analysis and reporting; and (d) internal and external periodic assessments and evaluations, which include baseline studies of participating AUs, beneficiary assessments and mid-term, ex-post and impact

The Education Division/ ICAR would establish no later than 90 days after Effectiveness an M&E Cell to oversee the progress of activities across all NAHEP components

The overall risk rating for NAHEP is Substantial. A primary stakeholder risk is securing and maintaining the political will of State governments to accord the requisite financial, administrative and academic autonomy to their respective AUs during the reform process that each IDP, CAAST or Innovation Grant would finance. Filling faculty vacancies in some AUs, especially in lagging states, and decreasing academic inbreeding will likely require these AUs to attract students and faculty from other states, but current State policies and practices may limit such inter-state mobility. An increase in AUs that attain ICAR accreditation – as envisioned under the Project – would help to mitigate this risk.

The Education Division/ ICAR would establish a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Cell to oversee the progress of activities across all NAHEP components. An M&E expert/ consultant (firm) would be hired by The Education Division/ ICAR to support the M & E cell. The M&E Cell would: (a) develop a Project Monitoring and Tracking System (PMTS) to supervise all activities sanctioned under NAHEP and provide inputs for any needed course corrections; and (b) coordinate overall impact assessment, including economic and financial analysis of the various NAHEP activities and components. An independent entity would be contracted to conduct comprehensive outcome-focused impact evaluation of NAHEP at three stages: baseline, mid-term, and project NAHEP includes midterm performance reviews of each participating AU and its IDP and will apply rewards and sanctions as warranted by these reviews.

A PME Cell would also be established in each participating AU for its respective IDP/ CAAST and would be responsible for: (a) collecting baseline data for PDO and intermediate outcome indicators;[1] (b) preparing an M&E work plan and budget for its respective IDP/ CAAST; (c) timely preparation of semester and annual progress reports, including financial and physical performance metric as agreed in the PIP; (d) planning and developing PME-related training programs; and (e) designing and conducting M&E exposure sessions for the participating AUs.

Project Reporting: The Education Division/ ICAR, through its PIU, would submit semester reports to the World Bank containing: (a) up to-date physical and financial expenditure data compared to annual and end-of-project targets; (b) updated indicators of project performance compared to annual and end-of-project targets; (c) successes and problems encountered during the reporting period with suggested remedial actions; and (d) social and environmental impacts

Identify the activities required to achieve the goals stated in the components and incorporate them into annual activity plans. The host institution will be responsible for reporting to the PIU, NAHEP on implementation and progress against targets, based on timelines and formats prescribed by the Department in case of IDP/CAAST/IGP.

The grant being released should be exclusively spent on the specified purpose for which it has been sanctioned within the stipulated time. Any unspent balance out of the amount sanctioned would be refunded to the ICAR.

All the assets acquired or created from the grant will be the property of the ICAR till the necessary orders is passed in this regard and should not be disposed off or encumbered or utilized for purpose other than those for which the grant has been sanctioned without the prior permission of the ICAR.

Concerned officers of ICAR or its authorized representatives may visit the organization periodically for ascertaining the progress of work and resolving any difficulties that might be encountered in the course of implementation.

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