Updated: January 21, 2021 8:20:46 am
The state Cabinet on Wednesday approved a Rs 976-crore World Bank-funded project for improvement in the quality and governance of school education in Maharashtra.
The project – Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) – will get central assistance of Rs 586 crore, and run for five years.
The Centre had earlier selected Maharashtra and five other states – Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Odisha – for the project, to which the global bank had committed Rs 3,700 crore.
Focussed on improving the delivery of education services at the state, district and sub-district levels, the STARS project – to be implemented by the school education department under the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyaan – will design customise reforms for enhancing learning assessment systems, strengthening classroom instructions, facilitating school-to-work transition and strengthening governance and decentralised management of schools.
Around 1.6 crore students (between the age group of four and 18) and over 2.5 lakh teachers will benefit from the programme. The government has said that special attention will be paid towards improving learning outcomes of students hailing from economically and socially backward classes.
With improvement of early childhood care and education a key focus area of the new National Education Policy, the project will also undertake programmes directed at improving the ability to read, write and perform basic operations with numbers among children in the three to six age group. According to the government, it plans to set up “model” pre-primary schools through the initiative.
For higher secondary education, the project will look to revise the school curriculum to fine-tune it with the rapidly evolving needs of the job market. There are also plans to promote career counselling and vocational training in higher secondary classes.
Besides, the government will undertake schemes to promote personality development and leadership in schools. Recognising that teachers are central to improve learning outcomes, special training and assessment projects will be planned.
Contending that the funds under the project will be tied to performance-linked indicators, the government has said that the “project will help states in evidence-based planning to factor in the needs of students and strengthen accountability at all levels”.
Improving language proficiency among students up to Class III and enhancement enrolment ratio of students in Class X are part of the goals earmarked for the project.
The Centre has asked the state to increase inter-state student and teacher exchange programmes under the project.
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