World Bank approves $250 mn for improving primary school teachers in Bihar

Washington, May 21: World Bank will offer a credit of USD 250 million to Bihar government over the next five years as part of a programme to help improve effectiveness of elementary school teachers in the state by making them more qualified, accountable and responsive.

The programme, approved by the World Bank's Board of executive Directors, will be part of the government of Bihar's school education reform programme (also known as Manav Vikas programme), which is implementing a wide-set of reforms to improve the quality of education, especially for elementary level children.

WB approves $250 mn for Bihar

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, the Bank said.

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, it said. The challenge to train teachers in a conducive learning environment has become greater after the recent expansion in the number of teachers in Bihar, it said. [World Bank chief praises PM's Jan Dhan Yojna]

This has been compounded by years of underinvestment in teacher education in the state 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 Bank said.

"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," World Bank Country Director in India, Onno Ruhl said.

"This programme 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," he added.

The programme is expected to 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, it said.


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