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.

Background

  • 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.

Need

  • 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

Key Details

Implementation

  • The project will be implemented through the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, the flagship central scheme of India

Coverage

  • 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.

Benefits

  • 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.

Samagra Shiksha

  • Launched in 2018, is an integrated scheme for school education extending from pre-school to class XII to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education.
  • It subsumes the three Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).

Major Objectives

  • Provision of quality education and enhancing learning outcomes of students;
  • Bridging Social and Gender Gaps in School Education;
  • Ensuring equity and inclusion at all levels of school education;
  • Ensuring minimum standards in schooling provisions;
  • Promoting Vocationalisation of education;
  • Support States in implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009; and
  • Strengthening and up-gradation of SCERTs/State Institutes of Education and DIET as a nodal agencies for teacher training.

Key Points

  • The scheme envisages the ‘school’ as a continuum from pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary to Senior Secondary levels.
  • The vision of the Scheme is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education from pre-school to senior secondary stage in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for Education.
  • The main emphasis of the Scheme is on improving quality of school education by focussing on the two T’s – Teacher and Technology.
  • It proposes to give flexibility to the States and UTs to plan and prioritize their interventions within the scheme norms and the overall resource envelope available to them.
  • Funds are proposed to be allocated based on an objective criteria based on enrolment of students, committed liabilities, learning outcomes and various performance indicators.

Source : Civil Services Chronicle Online, June, 2020