Thiruvananthapuram: A team led by Kerala higher education principal secretary K Mohandas held talks with World Bank officials in New Delhi for a Rs 60-crore aid package for converting selected engineering colleges in the state into centres of excellence and building a network of institutions under them.
Sources say College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram (CET), and Regional Engineering College (REC), Kozhikode, have been selected under the proposed scheme. About six other engineering colleges will be brought under the network of institutions.
The minimum goal of the programme is to improve the standard of engineering colleges in the state, at least to that of the Indian Institute of Technology, the sources say. The programme earmarks Rs 40-50 crore of the total World Bank assistance to CET and REC.
The assistance will focus on infrastructure development, tie-ups with reputed institutions within the country and outside, research and development, and continuous upgradation of the academic content on par with world standards. Another Rs 10 crore from the package will be set apart for building a network of institutions under CET and REC. Geographical factors will determine the selection of network institutions.
A key structural change planned in the programme is granting autonomy to the selected colleges. Each college will be given full academic and administrative freedom. A major outcome of the programme, if implemented, will be the creation of a highly competitive environment among engineering colleges in the state.
Many other Indian states have also submitted similar proposals to the central government. It was CET that originally proposed the idea of centres of excellence and a network of institutions. Kerala is among the first to be called for talks with World Bank officials. The first phase of the programme will be implemented from the next academic year itself, the sources say.
CET principal S K Mohan was also in the team that had gone to New Delhi to hold talks with World Bank officials.