World Bank’s STARS to improve school education in six States

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 28, 2020

The World Bank on Sunday announced the approval of project ‘Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program (STARS)’ for India.

The approval includes an assistance of $500 million (around ₹3,700 crore). The project aims to improve the quality and governance of school education in six States. Around 25 crore students (between the age of 6 and 17) in 15 lakh schools and over 1 crore teachers will benefit from the programme.

At the national level, through the Samagra Shiksha, and in partnership with the 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, the bank said in a statement.

Right to education

“India recognizes 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,” said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India. Further investing more in the early years of education will equip children with the skills required to compete for the jobs of the future.”

The STARS programme builds on the long partnership between India and the World Bank (since 1994), for strengthening public school education and to support the country’s goal of providing ‘Education for All’. Prior to STARS, the Bank had provided a total assistance of more than $3 billion towards this goal.

“STARS will support the Government of India’s vision to provide greater flexibility to States for school education planning and budgeting. This will help States’ implement evidence-based planning to factor in the needs of the most deprived, strengthen accountability at all levels, and thereby adopt a holistic approach to improve education outcomes,” said Shabnam Sinha, Lead Education Specialist, and World Bank’s Task Team Leader for the project.

The Bank noted that India has made significant strides in improving access to education across the country; between 2004-05 and 2018-19, the number of children going to school increased from 21.9 crore to 24.8 crore. However, the learning outcomes of students across all age groups continues 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.

Customised reforms

The project will focus directly on the delivery of education services at the State, district and sub-district levels by providing customised local-level solutions towards school improvement, addressing demands from stakeholders, especially parents, for greater accountability and inclusion by producing better data to assess the quality of learning.

It will give special attention to students from vulnerable sections – with over 52 per cent (as a weighted average) of children in the government-run schools in the six project States belonging to vulnerable sections, such as Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), and minority communities; and delivering a curriculum that keeps pace with the rapidly evolving needs of the job market. It intends to equip teachers to manage this transformation by recognising that teachers are central to achieving better learning outcomes.

Published on June 28, 2020

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