World Bank clears $500 million loan for education program in Kerala, 5 other states

World Bank clears $500 million loan for education program in Kerala, 5 other states
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New Delhi: The World Bank on Sunday said its Board of Executive Directors has approved USD 500 million (about Rs 3,700 crore) loan to improve quality and governance of school education in six Indian states including Kerala.

The board approved a loan for Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program (STARS) on June 24, 2020, the World Bank said in a statement.

"Some 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. 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," it said.

Prior to STARS, the bank had provided a total assistance of more than USD 3 billion towards this goal.

At the national level, through the Samagra Shiksha, and in partnership with the states of Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Rajasthan, it said, STARS will also help improve learning assessment systems, strengthen classroom instruction and remediation, facilitate school-to-work transition, and strengthen governance and decentralised management.

India recognises the need to significantly improve its learning outcomes to fuel future growth and meet the demands of the labour market, World Bank Country Director in India Junaid Ahmad said.

"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," he said.

Investing more in the early years of education will equip children with the skills required to compete for the jobs of the future, he added.

The multilateral funding agency noted that India has, over the years, made significant strides in improving access to education across the country; between 2004-05 and 2018-19, the number of children going to school increased from 219 million to 248 million.

However, the learning outcomes of students across all age groups continue to remain below par.

The USD 500 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a final maturity of 14.5 years, including a grace period of five years.

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