250 millones de dólares para educación primaria en India

El Gobierno de la India y el Banco Mundial han firmado un contrato de crédito para mejorar la calidad de los profesores de educación primaria en el estado de Bihar, al norte del país.

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The Government of India, the Government of Bihar and the World Bank today signed a $250 million credit agreement to improve the quality of elementary school teachers in Bihar by making them more qualified, accountable and responsive.

The program will be implemented over a five year period 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 teacher management and performance; and improve teacher accountability at the school level.

“Under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) program, Bihar has seen an increase in access rates, a significant increase in comprehensive classroom infrastructure, and reduced pupil-teacher-ratio. This program 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,” said Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India. “The program has been designed as a performance based financing program, under which funds will be released only on achievement of agreed results. The learnings from this program will also deepen our understanding as to whether this is indeed a better model to achieve the agreed outcome and service delivery,” he added.

The credit agreement for the Enhancing Teacher Effectiveness in Bihar Operationwas signed by Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, 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, Program Leader and Acting Country Director in India, on behalf of the 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,” said Rajni Khanna, Program Leader and Acting Country Director, World Bank, India. “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.”

Lack of trained teachers seems to be one of the biggest impediments in improving the quality of education in Bihar. 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 state needs better institutions for teacher education, effective teaching practices, improved teacher performance, strong accountability measures and strengthened monitoring and governance arrangements.

The Program will be part of the Government of Bihar’s school education reform program (also known as Manav Vikas Program), which is implementing a wide-set of reforms to improve the quality of education, especially for elementary level children. It will benefit some 450,000 teachers in government elementary schools in Bihar, particularly the 65,000 new unqualified entrants who will receive certification through Open Distance Learning (ODL).  As a result, some 21.2 million elementary school students are expected to gain access to improved classroom teaching and learning.

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. They will offer a full range of teacher education activities, including local group discussions, tutorials, and remote teaching sessions.

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

For a robust monitoring and evaluation mechanism, the Program will introduce a number of initiatives which include Teacher Education Management Information System (TEMIS) and Teacher Education Institutional Development Index (TEIDI) among others.

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.

The credit is from the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm – with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5-year grace period.

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