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.

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

A Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system focused on outcomes would oversee project processes through the following methods and tools: (a) a Results Framework derived from explicitly identified goals, objectives, outputs, and activities, accompanied by relevant indicators, means of verification, and key assumptions; (b) an M&E strategy outlining information requirements, tools, and methodologies for data collection, analysis, and reporting; (c) a comprehensive M&E plan delineating roles and responsibilities for data collection, analysis, and reporting; and (d) periodic internal and external assessments and evaluations, encompassing baseline studies of participating Agricultural Universities (AUs), beneficiary assessments, and mid-term, ex-post, and impact evaluations.

The Education Division/ICAR will establish, no later than 90 days after Effectiveness, an M&E Cell tasked with overseeing the progress of activities across all components of the National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP).

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

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