$500 million projects approved by World Bank to improve education quality in Indian states

ST Staff
Sunday, 28 June 2020

The flagship central program, Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan in partnership with six Indian states: Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Odisha and Kerala will be used to execute the new project called STARS (Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program).

The board of executives of the World Bank has approved a recent project of $500 million, on Sunday, dedicated to improving the learning quality and governance of education in government-run schools in six states in the country.

The flagship central program, Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan in partnership with six Indian states: Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Odisha and Kerala will be used to execute the new project called STARS (Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program).

A statement released by the World Bank on Sunday said, "STARS will help improve learning assessment systems, strengthen classroom instruction and remediation, facilitate school-to-work transition, and strengthen governance and decentralised management."

Over the years, India has progressed to improve the existing system and provide access to quality education in various parts of the nation. According to the data provided by the multilateral agency, the number of school-going children increased from 219 million to 248 million in the years 2004-2005 and 2018-2019 respectively.

"However, learning outcomes across age groups remain below par. STARS will support India's renewed focus on addressing the 'learning outcome' challenge and help students better prepare for the jobs of the future - through a series of reform initiatives," the agency claimed.

The program is expected to provide aid to around 250 million students between the age of 6 and 17 studying in over 1.5 million schools including more than 10 million teachers.

The long term partnership between India and World Bank since 1994 which works for building up a strong public education system and to assist the country's aim of providing 'Education For All' remains strong with the STARS scheme. Before this program, financial aid of over $3 billion was being provided by the World Bank to support the scheme.

The World Bank said, "The program will support individualised, needs-based training for teachers that will give them an opportunity to have a say in shaping training programs and making them relevant to their teaching needs." Adding to that, it also said that the human capital of the nation needs to be made more powerful and strong through arranging foundational learning for children.

A report released by UNESCO said India and also other countries need to concentrate on the involvement of children from deprived households during times of crisis like the coronavirus pandemic.

India's World Bank Country Director, Junaid Ahmad said, "India recognises the need to significantly improve its learning outcomes to fuel future growth and meet the demands of the labour market. 

STARS will support India's response to this challenge by strengthening implementation at the local level, investing in teacher capacity and ensuring that no child of any background is left behind from the right to education."

In addition to all this, the World Bank program will directly concentrate on providing education facilities at the state, district and sub-district levels by suggesting various local-level solutions for improving education in schools and other services.

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