IT is appreciable that more than 1800 learning centres have already been set up to impart basic education to urban working children throughout the country. Under the second phase of the Basic Education for Hard-to-Reach Urban Working Children project, the government has set up the centres to bring more than 45,000 urban working children under the educational system.
No doubt, this kind of learning centres is necessary for the otherwise dropout students who have no other choice than to work because of economic condition of their parents. It is reported that the government is likely to set up a total of 8000 more learning centres by 2007. Such centres will offer skill-based non-formal education to 200,000 children between the ages of 10 and 14. Of them, 60 per cent will be girls.
But there is no statistics that could state how many urban working children will be left out by the project. In the capital, a good number of children work as domestic helps and they would not be brought under these programmes due to lack of motivational programmes to enthuse their parents or their employers. Even those who are interested in enrolling the child domestic helps in any of these schools, they may not get the scope to do so without hassles.
So, the government must consider a different target group while setting this kind of learning centres. The curriculum of these centres must be framed on the basis of demand of manpower in the export markets so that these children could get better jobs when they grow up.