Hyderabad: The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved a $250 million project to improve the quality of education, teaching practices, and governance in government-managed schools across the southern state of Andhra Pradesh in India.
Students from all grades and stages of school education will benefit from the project. The beneficiaries are about four million students (between the age of six and 14) in over 45,000 government schools, over one million children (between the age of three and six) enrolled in Anganwadis (Integrated Child Development Centers), and about 190,000 teachers, and more than 50,000 Anganwadi workers.
The Supporting Andhra’s Learning Transformation Project will support the state in fulfilling its vision of transforming government schools into vibrant institutions focused on foundational learning for young children. The project will:
encourage professional development of teachers;
provide remedial learning courses for children impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; and
pay special attention to students from marginalized groups, including children with special needs, scheduled tribes, and girls.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the learning crisis across the world. Its impact on the human capital of this generation of learners is likely to be long-lasting. Urgent action is needed to realize a new vision for education, one in which learning happens for everyone, everywhere,” said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India. “This project will support the Andhra Pradesh government’s vision of ensuring quality education for all through better infrastructure facilities, enhanced digital learning, and financial incentives for students from economically weaker backgrounds.”
Andhra Pradesh has, over the years, made significant strides in improving enrolment, transition, and retention rates. Across the grades and subjects covered under the National Achievement Survey (NAS) 2017, Andhra Pradesh has some of the highest student learning levels. However, 40 percent of Grade 5 (age 10) students remain below minimum grade-level proficiency.
The state has adopted a new competency-based teaching-learning approach. The project will improve teaching practices through classroom-based mentorships, need-based teacher training for teachers of all grades and subjects, Personalized Adaptive Learning (PAL) methods, and other forms of remedial education linked to standardized school-based assessments.
Developing the institutional capacity of schools for delivering these services will go a long way in building community confidence and improving the learning environment. The project will help with better maintenance of school facilities, support involvement of parents in school management and monitoring, make data available, and enhance school safety.
The focus on foundational learning would be through short-term in-service training courses for Anganwadi workers and early grade (Grade 1 and 2) teachers and the supply of pedagogically appropriate Teaching Learning Material (TLM) across these centers and schools. Such attention to foundational learning will improve the readiness of schools in preparing children with the cognitive, socio-behavioral, and language skills needed for future labor markets. The project will introduce a one-year preschool-level course in 3,500 schools in the tribal blocks. It will help address the issue of low learning levels amongst the tribal community.
“The project will support the Government of Andhra Pradesh to build on its Nadu Nedu (school transformation) initiative that seeks to redevelop schools into vibrant centers of learning. Improving teacher-student interactions across all grades will enhance learning and provide children with a strong start,” said Kartik Pental, Education Specialist and World Bank’s Task Team Leader for the project.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, home-based learning opportunities for students are of top priority for the state. Given the low availability of digital devices amongst students, the focus will be on developing physical learning kits and content for television and radio broadcasts. It will help in reducing the learning losses that children are likely to face due to school closures because of the ongoing pandemic, future natural disasters, or other disruptions related to climate change.
The $250 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a final maturity of 33.5 years including a grace period of six years.