Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera 2 Dec 2019

Bangladesh slum children drop out of school for full-time work


Thousands of children living in the slums of Bangladesh are dropping out of school.
About one in six children between the ages of six and 14 are not receiving any form of education.
Most of them work full-time to provide for their families.

Al Jazeera's Tanvir Chowdhury reports from Dhaka.

UNESCO estimates that school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic have affected more than 320 million students across India. The move has exposed long-running structural imbalances between rural and urban populations, male and female and the rich and poor, creating a massive gap in learning.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Human Resource Development launched an "alternative" classroom calendar, which included lesson plans accessible via smartphone, social media, SMS, television and radio. But the latest data from India Cellular and Electronics Association estimates only 25 percent of people in rural India have access to a smartphone. And, while internet penetration is growing, only about 30 percent of the rural population has internet access.

Girls are particularly badly affected. They face family constraints, physical safety threats and insufficient access to menstrual hygiene, all of which can force them out of the education system.

In some cities, education department officials are distributing smartphones and tablets to facilitate e-learning in government schools but, to further fill the need, innovators are also helping students with access using pre-internet technology. ThinkZone is one such initiative and uses voice calling, SMS and radio partnerships to give rural students daily learning modules.

In this episode of The Stream, we'll take a look at the learning gap in India, ask what the solutions are and consider the impact on children locked out of the system.

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