The World Bank has approved a loan of USD 500 million (about INR 3,700 crore) to improve the quality and governance of the school education system across six Indian states. The loan is approved under the Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program (STARS) on June 24, 2020.
Some 250 million students (between the age group of 6 and 17) in 1.5 million schools and over 10 million teachers will get benefit from the program. The STARS program builds on the long partnership between the World Bank and India (since 1994), for strengthening public school education and support the goal of the country to implement Education for All,” it said in a statement.
Apart from the STARS program, according to the World Bank, the loan would also help government programs at a national level including the “Samagra Shiksha” program which was launched in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Rajasthan. The program STARS will also help in improving learning assessment systems, strengthening classroom instruction and remediation, facilitating school-to-work transition, and strengthening governance and decentralized management.
The USD 500 million loan (about INR 3,700 crore) from IBRD, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, has a final maturity of 14.5 years, including 5 years grace period. The bank had provided total assistance of more than USD 3 billion, prior to STARS, towards this goal.
The multilateral funding agency noted that over the years, India has made significant strides in improving education accessibility across the country; between 2004-05 and 2018-19, the total number of children going to school has increased from 219 million to 248 million.
World Bank Country Director in India Junaid Ahmad said that India recognizes the need to significantly improve its learning outcomes in terms to fuel future growth and meet the upcoming demands of the labour market. He further added that the STARS program will support India’s response to this challenge by investing in teacher capacity, strengthening implementation at the local level, and ensuring that no child is left behind from the right to education of any background.
Investing in the early years of the education system will equip children with the upcoming demanding skills required to compete for the jobs of the future.
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