Basic Education for Hard to Reach Urban Working Children (BEHTRUWC)
If the “Education for All” target is to succeed, the group of children who work to earn money to support their families must be reached. The Government of Bangladesh has implemented this programme, assisted by UNICEF and other NGO’s.
The project is being implemented in 6 divisional cities by 20 prominent NGO’s.
“Hard to reach” is a very appropriate term, as these young learners are most
difficult to enrol into the programme, as they need to have the permission of
their employers and need to be found in the first place. It was very hard to
bring them in, to teach them and to retain them for the 40 months of the program as well as finding neat and clean learning centres, and working with
inexperienced, poorly salaried teachers and supervisors. The rent of the centres often increases each year which makes it difficult to keep the program running in all areas. And signing 8000 certificates takes a lot of time!
Nijera Shikhi has worked in Chittagong city corporation ward no 1-9 since
2006. Nijera Shikhi are proud of their implementation of the project
successfully which consists of stage 1, 3 and 4 with 8000 disadvantaged working children, and have been commended by the Project Implementation Unit personnel.
Independence Day and other important national and international days were celebrated with the learners, teachers, officers, committee members, local people and government officials in Chittagong.
Competencies were achieved by the learners in Bengali, English, Arithmetic
and Life Skills/Social Science at primary level. After completion of the
BEHTRWC project the learners have the opportunity to get admitted into the main stream of primary education in order to access higher education or better jobs.
Birth certificates are also given out, which helps in many ways such as
obtaining jobs, national identity cards, marriage and further education.
Other beneficiaries of the project are the parents, who become more motivated about education and learn aspects about health and social life to improve their own lives and that of the community around them. The teachers and supervisors are also beneficiaries as they also learn while being employed.
The community also improves with workshops, social mobilization programs, street theatre, national day observances and birth certificate giving ceremonies. Local community leaders have shown their responsibilities with regular meetings and support, earning the respect of the parents and teachers of the community.