World Bank’s STARS Program
- On 28th June, 2020, the World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved USD 500 million Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program (STARS) to improve quality and governance of school education in six Indian states.
- The STARS program 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.
- 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
- The project will be implemented through the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, the flagship central scheme of India
- Six states included in the project are Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Rajasthan.
Series of Reform Initiatives under STARS
- Focusing more directly on the delivery of education services at the state, district and sub district levels by providing customized 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.
- Giving special attention to students from vulnerable sections – with over 52 percent (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.
- Equipping teachers to manage this transformation by recognizing that teachers are central to achieving better learning outcomes.
- Investing more in developing India’s human capital needs by strengthening foundational learning for children in classes 1 to 3 and preparing them with the cognitive, socio-behavioral and language skills to meet future labor market needs.
- Aid to India’s Response: India recognizes the need to significantly improve its learning outcomes to fuel future growth and meet the demands of the labor 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.
- Improving Education System: The project will help improve the learning assessment systems, strengthen classroom instruction and remediation, facilitate school-to-work transition, and strengthen governance and decentralized management.
- Holistic Approach: It will help state’s 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.
- Improving Gender Parity: Furthermore, in order to improve gender parity in terms of education, STARS will also improve the completion rate for secondary education.
- Fulfilling SDG Goal: In line with the Sustainable Development Goal for education (SDG 4), the programme will help produce better data on learning levels by improving the National Achievement Survey (NAS).
- Nurturing Students: It will also address the ‘learning outcome’ challenge and help students better prepare for the jobs of the future.