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Non-formal learning centers educate urban slum children

In Bangladesh, NGO-run learning centers, operating outside the formal school system, find ways to education the growing urban slum children population that the formal system has not reached.

The Strategic Foresight Group writes,

"The non-formal schools (educational activity primarily run by NGOs, which takes place outside the formal system) play a vital role in providing access to education for slum children. These schools are usually free and offer flexible hours and classes. This ensures that children continue to make enough money to support their families while fulfilling their right to an education. In addition, large-scale programmes operated by non-government organizations target young people who have dropped out of formal education. In Dhaka city, for instance as many as 2,025 non-formal schools are now imparting basic
education to about 60,750 slum children."

Education access in Bangladesh urban slums is very low: "Only 9.4% of slum areas in Bangladesh have access to primary schools (both public and private)...In 2008, only about half of the children living in urban slums attended school compared to a national average of 81% net attendance ratio." SFG explains that two primary reasons for this low attendance are financial strains of education and formal schooling opportunities for urban slum children are limited because most of them work during the day.

Implications

SFG highlights that climatic and economic factors are likely to lead to immense growth in slums, but these informal learning centers could give many children a greater chance of finding better employment opportunities. IFTF adds that the growing importance of NGOs in providing services to the informal sector in India could contribute to a distributed non-governmental governance system (a shadow system) in many slums. How the government responds to the growing role of NGOs in the informal sector - support, regulation, substitution - will have immense implications for the population that depends on them.

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