Underprivileged Children's Educational Programme (UCEP) Bangladesh has set a trend that can be applied and followed in the present educational system for bringing about dynamic changes in the society and country as a whole.
UCEP has been working for the socio-economic development of the urban distressed, poor and ill-fated children since 1972.
Whiling visiting its head office and technical school and exchanging views with its executives, it was learnt that UCEF taught 1,28,116 children in different disciplines since its inception.
Funded mainly by different foreign donor agencies, UCEP teaches poor urban children in two categories namely technical and para-trade centres after completing general schools of 4.5 years duration and covering grades I-VII through its 44 schools and training centres in Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi and Khulna divisions.
Target groups of UCEP are domestic child laborers, factory workers, shop assistants, firewood collectors, porters and day-laborers who are deprived of formal education and involved in hazardous jobs to earn their living.
Educating children in different disciplines under Technical and Para-trade categories that range from 6-24 months, UCEP provides job opportunities for the educated students within six months of completion of their education.
With the financing of DBBL (Dutch-Bangla Bank Ld.), UCEP sent 43 students abroad who are doing better and earning well.
Moreover, under Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) programme, UCEP provided loans to its 43 students ranging between Tk 25,000 and Tk 30,000 each under self-employment schemes.
Gender ratio of UCEP students is 50:50 at present and students attendance rate is 94 per cent while employment rate is 99 per cent.
Some 25,000 students are currently enrolled with the UCEP and it has three technical schools and nine para-trade centres and 640 teaching staff.
So far, 16,771 students completed technical training, 4,880 students completed para-trade training and 22,329 educated students have been provided job placements.
All the above information came out from the presentation of UCEP Executive Director Aftab Uddin Ahmad.
UCEP has a future plan of introducing integrated general and vocational education from grade I from 2007, establishment of textile institute, welding institute, expansion of SME credit programme and setting up of UCEP cooperative bank, he said.
UCEP officials urged the government to replicate their model across the country for the sake of boosting the quality of education as the present educational system failed to ensure jobs for the educated people.
UCEP chairman M. Sirajul Islam and Vice-chairman Ubaidir Rob were present at presentation programme.