cabinet-approves-world-bank-aided-project-stars-summary

 

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Context: The Union Cabinet has recently approved the STARS project partially funded by the World Bank.

Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program (STARS)

Aims

  • Carry out a reform agenda in the governance of school education
  • Improve data and assessment systems at the national level, as well as teaching and learning outcomes in six States, especially for early childhood and vocational education.

Components

  • A major component of the project is the establishment of PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development) as a National Assessment Centre. 
    • Included in the National Education Policy 2020, this autonomous institution under the Union Education Ministry will set norms for student assessment and evaluation for all school boards across the country, most of which currently follow norms set by State governments. 
    • It will also guide standardised testing to monitor learning outcomes at the State and national levels, according to the NEP.
  • The other major initiative at the national level is to strengthen the Education Ministry’s data systems to capture information on the retention, transition and completion rates of students.
    • At the State level, the STARS project seeks to improve education outcomes and school-to-work transition strategies for better labour market outcomes.
  • Education governance reform will be a major focus, with the World Bank’s project document estimating that 83% of the project will be dedicated to the public administration of education. 
  • Other areas of focus are assessment systems, teacher development, early childhood, foundational literacy and numeracy, and vocational education, which are all highlighted in the NEP as well.

Funding

  • Total project cost of ₹5,718 crore, with the World Bank’s support amounting to about ₹3,700 crore ($500 million)World Bank (approved $500 million)
  • STARS project would be implemented as a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme under the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education. 

Coverage

  • Six states included in the project are Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Rajasthan.
  • More than 52% of children in government-run schools in the six project states belong to vulnerable sections, such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and minority communities.

Benefits

  • 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.
  • It will also address “the ‘learning outcome’ challenge and help students better prepare for the jobs of the future.
  • STARS will aid India’s response 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.
  • The project also includes an emergency response component to help the government respond to disaster situations which lead to school closures and loss of learning, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic,

Other details

  • STARS builds on the partnership between India and the World Bank since 1994 for strengthening the school education system and to support the goal of providing education to all

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Q. STARS project would address “the ‘learning outcome’ challenge and help students better prepare for the jobs of the future. Critically comment (250 words)