World Bank will provide USD 250 million loan for a school education project in Andhra Pradesh, which will cover over 50 lakh students in the southern state. “The Government of India, Government of Andhra Pradesh and the World Bank on November 18, 2021 signed the legal agreements for USD 250 million for a project which aims to improve quality of learning for over 50 lakh students in the state of Andhra Pradesh,” an official release said on Tuesday.
The agreement was signed by Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance; Budithi Rajsekhar, Principal Secretary, Department School Education, Government of Andhra Pradesh; and Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank.
The project will cover about 40 lakh students (6-14 year age group) in over 45,000 government schools, and over 10 lakh children (3-6 years) enrolled in Anganwadis (Integrated Child Development Centers), and about 1,90,000 teachers, and more than 50,000 Anganwadi workers. It will introduce a one-year preschool-level course in 3,500 schools in the tribal blocks. Also, it will help address the issue of low learning levels amongst the tribal community.
The fund will be utilised for supporting Andhra’s Learning Transformation Project to encourage professional development of teachers; provide remedial learning courses for children impacted by Covid-19 pandemic, the release said.
Special attention to students from marginalised groups, including children with special needs, scheduled tribes, and girls, will also be covered under this learning outcome project. “Providing universal access to quality education is central to India’s economic and social development. The Project will support the state of Andhra Pradesh in fulfilling its vision of transforming government schools into vibrant institutions focused on foundational learning for young children, including addressing learning losses for children impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Finance Ministry said in the statement.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, home-based learning opportunities for students are of top priority for the state, the statement said. “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 stated. 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.