Cabinet approves world bank aided project to improve school education

The STARS project is aligned with the objectives of new education policy

Union minister Prakash Javadekar | PTI Union minister Prakash Javadekar | PTI

In a bid to improve the teachers learning process, the government is set to launch a new scheme with nearly 50 per cent financial assistance of the World Bank. Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union cabinet on Wednesday approved the 'strengthening teaching learning and results for states' (STARS) project with a total cost of Rs 5718 crore.

The project which covers six states—Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Odisha—is aligned with the objectives of new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. The financial support of World Bank amounts to US $ 500 million (approximately Rs 3700 crore).

The STARS project seeks to support the states in developing, implementing, evaluating and improving interventions with direct linkages to improved education outcomes and school to work transition strategies for improved labour market outcomes, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said during the cabinet press briefing.

The project envisions improving the overall monitoring and measurement activities in the Indian school education system through interventions in selected states. The project shifts focus from the provision of inputs and maintaining of outputs to actual outcomes by linking the receipt and disbursement of funds to these outcomes.

“The identified states will be supported for various interventions for improving the quality of education. Besides this project, it is also envisaged to implement a similar ADB funded project in 5 states namely Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Assam. All states will partner with one another for sharing their experiences and best practices,” the official statement said.

The STARS project would be implemented as a new centrally-sponsored scheme under Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education (MoE). 

The STARS project aims to strengthen MoE's national data systems to capture robust and authentic data on retention, transition and completion rates of students.

The project will support MOE’s efforts to establish a National Assessment Center (PARAKH). Among the tasks of such a center would be to leverage the experiences of states selected for the operation by collecting, curating and sharing these experiences with other states through online portals (e.g. Shagun and DIKSHA), social and other media engagement, technical workshops, state visits and conferences.

The other aspect of the project to be undertaken at the State level will include strengthening early childhood education and foundational learning, improving learning assessment systems, strengthening classroom instruction and remediation through teacher development and school leadership and strengthening vocational education in schools through mainstreaming, career guidance and counselling, internships and coverage of out of school children.

In another key decision, the Union cabinet also approved special package worth Rs 520 crore for the Union territories of J&K and Ladakh under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM). This is aimed at improving the quality of life of rural households and women's empowerment, given the changed circumstances in the UTs of J&K and Ladakh.

The mission involves working with the community institutions through community professionals in the spirit of self-help. 

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