The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today ratified a $500 million Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program (STARS) to improve the integrity and management of school education in six Indian states. Approx. 250 million students (between the age of 6 and 17) in 1.5 million schools and over 10 million teachers will be assisted from the program.
The STARS program creates on the long partnership between India and the World Bank (since 1994), for strengthening municipal school education and to help the country’s goal of delivering ‘Education for All’. Prior to STARS, the Bank had provided total aid of more than $3 billion towards this mission.
India, from past decades, made considerable strides in enhancing access to education across the country; between 2004-05 and 2018-19, the number of children going to school improved from 219 million to 248 million. However, the learning consequences of students across all age groups continue to remain below par. STARS will fund India’s revived focus on dealing with the ‘learning outcome’ challenge and help students better to educate for the jobs of the future – through a series of reform initiatives.
- Concentrating more directly on the delivery of education assistance at the state, district, and sub-district levels by providing customized local-level treatments towards school improvement.
- Addressing needs from stakeholders, especially parents, for greater responsibility and inclusion by producing better data to assess the quality of understanding; giving personal attention to students from weaker sections – with over 52 percent (as a weighted average) of children in the government-run schools in the six project states belonging to vulnerable categories, such as Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), and minority communities; and delivering a curriculum that keeps stride with the rapidly developing needs of the job market.
- Preparing teachers to govern this modification by comprehending that teachers are central to accomplishing better learning outcomes. The program will support individualized, needs-based training for educators that will give them a chance to have a say in forming training programs and making them pertinent to their teaching needs.
- Investing more in developing India’s human capital needs by bolstering foundational knowledge for children in classes 1 to 3 and preparing them with the cognitive, socio-behavioral, and terminology skills to meet future labor market needs.
In line with the Sustainable Development ambition for education (SDG 4), the program will help generate better data on learning categories by enhancing the National Achievement Survey (NAS). India’s participation in PISA is a memorable strategic determination by the Government of India to obtain data on how India’s knowledge levels compare internationally. STARS will help India in this important stride forward.
STARS will fund the Government of India’s vision to provide considerable flexibility to states for school education management and budgeting. This will help states’ tool evidence-based planning to factor in the needs of the most constrained, strengthen responsibility at all levels, and thereby adopt a holistic strategy to improve education results, said Shabnam Sinha, Lead Education Specialist, and World Bank’s Task Team Leader for the project.
The $500 million loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a final maturity of 14.5 years including a grace period of five years.