World Bank and India moved one step forward in terms of partnership, with World Bank announcing the approval of project ‘Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program (STARS)’ for India, which includes an assistance of $500 million (around INR3,700 crore).
The program focuses on supporting India’s goal of providing Education for All and also powering public school education. Earlier, the country had been provided with a total assistance of more than $3 billion towards the goal. Further, the program aims at improving school education in some regions in terms of quality and governance, which will benefit around 25 crore students, aged between 6 and 17, in 15 lakh schools and more than 1 crore teachers.
Samagra Shiksha, a scheme of the Government of India in partnership with six states, namely, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Rajasthan, focuses on various goals in terms of education.
The goals of the scheme are as follows:
• It aims at improving effectiveness of school which is being measured in terms of equal opportunities for schooling and impartial learning outcomes.
• It focuses on sector-wise development which would also help to integrate the implementation mechanisms and transaction costs at all levels.
• It aims at uniting social and gender gaps in school education.
• It aims at universal Access, Equity and Quality, promoting Vocationalisation of Education and strengthening of Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs).
• It envisages the ‘school’ as a continuum from pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary to senior secondary level.
Fueling the future growth and fulfilling the demands of the labour market, India recognizes the need to notably improving its learning outcomes and focuses on challenge of learning outcome and preparing the students in terms of jobs of the future.
India’s vision of improving access to education across the country has been noticed by the Bank. Right moves and focused policies, during the period from 2004 to 2019, resulted in significant jump in the number of children going to school from 21.9 crore to 24.8 crore. However, the challenge of learning outcome of students across all age groups continues to remain below par.
The project, STARS, will also ensure that no child of any background is left behind from the idea of the right to education. It will support India’s above challenge by strengthening implementation at the local level, investing in teacher building. Further it will also support the Government of India’s idea to provide higher flexibility to States in terms of 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.
As mentioned above, the project will focus directly on the delivery of education services at the local level and solutions towards school improvement by addressing the needs of parents, for greater accountability and inclusion by producing better data to assess the quality of learning. Further, the projects intends to pay special attention to the needs of students from vulnerable sections such as Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), and minority communities which is over 52 percent of students of government schools in the states included in the projects and delivering a curriculum that keeps pace with the rapidly evolving needs of the job market. It also intends to equip the teachers to manage this transformation by recognising that teachers are central to achieving better learning outcomes.
The proper implementation of the project will be monitored by Governing Council headed by Minister of Human Resource Development and a Project Approval Board (PAB) headed by Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy.
So far, India has successfully achieved gender equality in the enrolment in primary education level but is still lagging behind at Secondary level. In most parts of the country, girls drop even today out of school after they start menstruating. STARS will help in downward this trend and will also improve the gender parity in secondary education.
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