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World Bank gives $500 million to six states in India for improved education

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved a $500 million program, in India in six states. The program named called ‘Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program (STARS), aims at providing a better quality of school education in India.

This project was approved on June 24 and shall focus on better quality and governance in schools of 6 Indian states. These states are Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Rajasthan.

The world bank said in a statement that “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.”

As per the official release, the quality of the education in India still remains sub-par though improvements. However, the number of children attending the schools have increased from 248 million from 219 million during the period 2004-05 and 2018-19.

The statement also said that “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.”

The initiatives taken include focusing on the delivery of education services at the state, district and sub-district levels by providing customised local level education solutions. Through this, the quality of learning is improved. It is also mentioned that more data on learning levels will be attained by refining the National Achievement Survey (NAS).

This initiative will provide special assistance to the students in the weaker section of the society, especially to the students in the vulnerable section. According to a report, more than 52% of students in government school belong to the vulnerable group. This program aims at providing better education to them. The teachers will be given proper training and shall be equipped with proper resources.

The learning related to cognitive, socio-behavioural and language skills shall also be provided at the basic level.

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

The statement issued mentioned that “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”.

This $500 million loan has been provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).

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