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World Bank signs US$250 mn agreement with Bihar

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World Bank

World Bank has signed a US$250 million credit agreement with Government of India to improve the quality of teachers in Bihar by making them more qualified, accountable and responsive. The programme will be implemented for a period of five years and will support development of high quality education institutions, ensure certification for unqualified elementary school teachers and continuous professional development of teachers in service, help effective teachers management and performance, and improve teacher accountability at the school level.

Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, said, “Under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme, Bihar has seen an increase in access rates, a significant increase in comprehensive classroom infrastructure, and reduced pupil-teacher-ratio. This programme will complement the on-going initiatives by helping the state government to improve quality of teaching in elementary schools, through enhanced infrastructure provisions in teacher training institutions, certification for unqualified elementary school teachers and continuous professional development of in service teachers.”

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He added, “The programme has been designed as a performance based financing programme, under which funds will be released only on achievement of agreed results. The learnings from this programme will also deepen our understanding as to whether this is indeed a better model to achieve the agreed outcome and service delivery.”

The agreement for enhancing teacher effectiveness in Bihar operation was signed by Raj Kumar on behalf of the Government of India, R.K. Mahajan, Principal Secretary, Department of Education, Bihar on behalf of the Government of Bihar and Rajni Khanna, Programme Leader and acting Country Director in India on behalf of World Bank.

“In order to improve the learning outcomes of children in Bihar, it is critical that robust systems for developing high quality teachers are in place. This program will equip teachers with the skill and knowledge they need to be more effective in the classroom by focusing on teacher training, performance, and accountability.” said Khanna.

By 2020, the number of teachers is expected to exceed 600,000. However, the state’s training capacity is less than 5,000 newly trained teachers per year whereas it needs to train at least ten times more teachers annually. The challenge to train teachers in a conducive learning environment has become greater after the recent expansion in the number of teachers in Bihar. This has been compounded by years of underinvestment in teacher education in Bihar since the 1990s.

The programme will benefit 4,50,000 teachers in government elementary schools in Bihar, particularly 65000 new unqualified entrants who will receive certification through Open Distance Learning (ODL).

Institutions like the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs), Primary Teacher Education Centers (PTECs) at the district level and Block Resource Centers (BRCs) and Cluster Resource Centers (CRCs) at the sub-district level will be strengthened to function as local learning centers.

Shabnam Sinha, Senior Education Specialist and the Task Team Leader for the Programme said, “While Bihar has experienced a 10 per cent reduction in absenteeism rates between 2003 and 2010 because of improved inspection and monitoring, teacher absenteeism continues to be quite high. This programme will help the state improve the learning environment and the performance of teachers in schools, with strong monitoring, evaluation and governance mechanisms.”

Teacher Education Management Information System (TEMIS), developed through a technical assistance from the World Bank, will have records of all elementary teachers in the state covering all new entrants as they are recruited. Teacher Education Institutional Development Index (TEIDI), also developed through a technical assistance from the World Bank, will include indicators to measure institutional performance at the district and sub-district levels. These efforts will also be underpinned by significant investments in ICT for teacher education, dissemination of a digital pool of learning resources along with better targeting of such initiatives.

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