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World Bank approves $250 million program to improve the quality of elementary teachers in Bihar

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By NewsgRam Staff Writer

The World Bank approved a $250 million credit for Enhancing Teacher Effectiveness in Bihar Program to improve the effectiveness 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.

“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 Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director in 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, approved the World Bank’s Board of executive Directors , 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.

 

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A lesson in the woods may boost kids’ learning

Moreover, the number of times the teacher had to redirect a student's attention to their work was roughly halved immediately after an outdoor lesson.

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Just sitting in classrooms makes children more dull. Wikimedia Commons
Just sitting in classrooms makes children more dull. Wikimedia Commons
  • To help students concentrate and learn more, teachers have found a new way of teaching them.
  • This technique of teaching outdoors will boost children’s mental capabilities to learn and remember.

Are your students unable to concentrate on their lessons in the classroom? Take them for outdoor learning sessions.

According to a study, a lesson in the lap of nature can significantly increase children’s attention level and boost their learning.

While adults exposed to parks, trees or wildlife have been known to experience benefits such as increased physical activity, stress reduction, rejuvenated attention and increased motivation, in children, even a view of greenery through a classroom window can have positive effects on their attention span, the researchers said.

The study showed that post an outdoor lesson, students were significantly more attentive and engaged with their schoolwork and were not overexcited or inattentive.

Taking students outside help them concentrate more. Wikimedia Commons
Taking students outside help them concentrate more. Wikimedia Commons

Moreover, the number of times the teacher had to redirect a student’s attention to their work was roughly halved immediately after an outdoor lesson.

“Our teachers were able to teach uninterrupted for almost twice as long at a time after the outdoor lesson and we saw the nature effect with our sceptical teacher as well,” said Ming Kuo, a scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the US.

For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, researchers tested their hypothesis in third graders (9-10 years old) in a school.

A few minutes outside help students concentrate better. VOA
A few minutes outside help students concentrate better. VOA

Over a 10-week period, an experienced teacher held one lesson a week outdoors and a similar lesson in her regular classroom and another, more sceptical teacher did the same. Their outdoor “classroom” was a grassy spot just outside the school, in view of a wooded area.

A previous research suggested that 15 minutes of self-paced exercise can also significantly improve a child’s mood, attention and memory. IANS