Maharashtra, among 6 states to get funding under World Bank's education project

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on June 28, 2020

The project aims to improve India’s education system

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved has approved a $500 million program called ‘Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program (STARS),’ for bettering the quality of school education in India in six states including Maharashtra.

The project approved on June 24 will focus on bettering the quality and governance in schools in six Indian States.

These states are Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Rajasthan.

“Some 250 million students (between the age of 6 and 17) in 1.5 million schools and over 10 million teachers will benefit from the program,” World Bank said in an official release.

According to the official release, despite improvements in India’s education system, the quality of education still remains sub-par. The number of children attending schools between 2004-05 and 2018-19, has increased to 248 million from 219 million. “However, the learning outcomes of students across all age groups continue to 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,” it said.

These initiatives include increased focus on the delivery of education services at the state, district and sub-district levels by providing customised local level education solutions. It will also improve accountability by providing detailed data on the quality of learning. More detailed data on learning levels will be obtained by improving the National Achievement Survey (NAS).

The initiative will provide special attention to students from vulnerable sections while delivering its curriculum. As per the report, over 52 per cent (as a weighted average) of children in the government-run schools in the six project states belong to vulnerable sections, such as Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), and minority communities.

The program will better equip the teachers to manage these new changes through proper training.

A significant investment will also be provided towards strengthening foundational learning for children in classes 1 to 3. Learning-related to cognitive, socio-behavioural and language skills will be provided at the basic level.

“India recognises the need to significantly improve its learning outcomes to fuel future growth and meet the demands of the labour market,” said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India. “Investing more in the early years of education will equip children with the skills required to compete for the jobs of the future.”

“At the national level, through the Samagra Shiksha, and in partnership with the states of Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Rajasthan, STARS will also help improve learning assessment systems; strengthen classroom instruction and remediation; facilitate school-to-work transition, and strengthen governance and decentralised management,” it said.

Furthermore, in order to improve gender parity in terms of education, STARS will also improve the completion rate for secondary education.

The $500 million loan has been provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). It has a final maturity of 14.5 years including a grace period of five years, it said.

Published on June 28, 2020

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