Thousands of learning centres have sprung up in the poorest urban communities in the major cities of Bangladesh. They are known as the Hard to Reach Schools because they cater for children who are typically hard to reach with any form of education.
The schools are operated by non-governmental organizations with the backing of the Bangladesh Government’s Directorate of Non-Formal Education and support from Britain, Sweden and UNICEF. The teaching and learning sessions last for two hours, five days a week and follow a course of study lasting two years. Many of the children are engaged in hazardous forms of labour for which they receive little and sometimes no pay at all. Teachers who run the centres and their supervisors negotiate with employers and parents so that the children have time off from work to attend school.