To bring about a reform in the governance of school education at a national level for improving the teaching and learning outcomes, especially for early childhood and vocational education, the Union Cabinet has recently given a nod to STARS project that is partially funded by the World Bank. Given the ongoing pandemic, the project also includes emergency response plans to help the government handle crisis situations like we are currently facing, that may impact students’ academics in any way. With a total cost of around Rs 5,718 crore, the Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) project received the World Bank’s financial support amounting to over Rs 3,700 crore.
A chief part of STARS project is the launch of PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development), an autonomous institution, as a National Assessment Centre. It has also been included as a part of the National Education Policy 2020 and will be responsible for setting norms for evaluation and assessment of students for various school boards across the country. According to NEP, the institution will also guide standardises testing to monitor learning outcomes at state and national levels.
Other initiatives under STARS Project
With education governance reform at the centre, STARS Project also seeks to strengthen the Education Ministry’s data systems and track the retention, transition and completion rate of students. While all these will be done on a national level, on the state level, the project will strive to improve education outcomes to ultimately improve the labour market outcomes in states like Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Odisha.
Since the project will mostly be funded by the World Bank, the latter recently released a status report for the project according to which plans to rope in private players in the government school system have also been included.