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STARS Program

STARS Program

Why in News?

  • Recently, the World Bank has approved the Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) Programme.
  • It will improve the quality and governance of school education in six Indian states of Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan through the Samagra Shiksha.

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

  • 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.

About the Project

  • It has a corpus of 3 billion US Dollar and will be implemented in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan through the Samagra Shiksha.
  • Around 250 million students (between the age of 6 and 17) in 1.5 million schools and over 10 million teachers will benefit from the program.   [STARS Program]
  • It will strengthen public school education and support the country’s goal of providing ‘Education for All’.
  • It will help improve learning assessment systems, strengthen classroom instruction and remediation, facilitate school-to-work transition and strengthen governance and decentralized management.

Implementation

  • At the national level, through the Samagra Shiksha, and in partnership with the governments of Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Rajasthan.

Key Objectives  [STARS Program]

  • To fund science projects which are transnational, i.e. which have direct implications for the progress of the country, through a competitive process in an open and transparent manner.
  • To support socially relevant research in the 6 basic thrust areas- Physics, Chemistry, Biological Sciences, Nano sciences, Data Sciences & Mathematics and Earth Sciences.
  • To take stock of an existing problem and work backwards towards conducting research for a solution.
  • Orient science towards addressing needs & issues of the country in key sectors like health, agriculture, energy, environment, security etc.    [STARS Program]
  • Promoting an inter-disciplinary & transnational approach in research for synergy, de-duplication and greater comprehensiveness & relevance of research activity.

Right to education

  • India recognizes the need to significantly improve its learning outcomes to fuel future growth and meet the demands of the labour 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.     [STARS Program]
  • STARS Program will support the Government of India’s vision to provide greater flexibility to States for school education planning and budgeting.
  • It will support India’s renewed focus on addressing the ‘learning outcome’ challenge and help students better prepare for the jobs of the future – through a series of reform initiatives.

Challenges   [STARS Program]

    • Ignoring Decentralisation:
      • The World Bank ignores that decentralising decision-making requires the devolution of funds and real decision-making power.
      • It requires not just investment in the capacity of the front-line bureaucracy but also in increasing their discretionary powers while fostering social accountability.
    • Fails to Address Capacity Issues:
      • Major vacancies across the education system remain unaddressed.
      • Without capable and motivated faculty, teacher education and training cannot be expected to improve.    [STARS Program]
    • Over-reliance on measurement by standardised assessments:
      • The programme spends money on testing infrastructure for standardised assessments which is a waste of time and resources.
      • Schools in India need improvement so the money should be invested in improving the capability of the system to improve learning.
    • Excessive use of Information and Communications Technology:
      • Technology does not address most of the systemic or governance challenges but it simply by-passes them.
      • Its usefulness depends on whether preconditions for effective use of ICT-systems have been put in place otherwise it only worsens the problems.
  • Outsourcing:
    • Outsourcing to non-state partners not just takes away discretion from state actors but also takes away the sense of accountability and ownership towards their job.
    • New private initiatives do not have institutional memories, nor do they have a grasp of socio-cultural realities that play an important part in the delivery process.
  • State structures rely on past experience (institutional memory) to meet new challenges and build additional memories with every new reform they undertake.

Conclusion  [STARS Program]

  • The administration must be equipped with adequate physical, financial and human resources because an overburdened bureaucracy with vacancies and without basic equipment cannot be expected to be effective.
  • Administrative or governance reforms must give greater discretion to the front-line bureaucracy to address local issues and innovate if required.
  • Outsourcing, an over-reliance on measurement by standardised assessments and excessive use of ICT will not get people closer to an Atmanirbhar Bharat. For that, the education system needs to enable itself to develop capability to reform itself.
  • [STARS Program]

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