Education for working children
© UNICEF Bangladesh/2008/Naser Siddique
Rubel (centre) attends school in the morning and works for a steel welder in the afternoons, Dhaka division.
UNICEF collaborates with the Government of Bangladesh on the Basic Education for Hard to Reach Urban Working Children (BEHTRUWC) project.
Education and child labour
Because many families rely on the income of their children to survive, UNICEF’s project for working children focuses on non-formal education that fits in around children’s regular work schedules. Education is the first step in breaking the cycle of unskilled-employment and child labour.
The project establishes small learning centres in urban areas that are home to high numbers of working children. Children between the age of 10 and 14 attend morning classes for two and a half hours, six days a week. There are 25 children in each class. The children usually return to their place of employment after class. By 2008, the project had opened 6,646 centres for 166,150 students in the six divisional capitals of Bangladesh. Attendance rates are encouraging, with few drop-outs.
Basic education and life skills
During their lessons, students study basic reading, writing and mathematics. They also learn a range of life skills, such as how to obtain healthcare, identify hazardous work, and understand their rights as children and other issues relevant to their situation. Classes are interactive, encouraging children to apply what they learn in their everyday lives.
After completing a 40-month basic education programme, the children attain the equivalent of grade five in Bangla and social science and grade three in mathematics. They also learn basic English. The programme supports selected children to attend further education and vocational training.
Download the Education for working children factsheet.