Underprivileged children typically denote children from homes with a low socioeconomic status. UNICEF says that there are about 1 billion children around the world who are underprivileged. In the US alone, nearly 1 in 7 children live in poverty. A majority of them don’t even have access to enough food; obviously, they are vulnerable to many problems. While many others are living in shelters, cars, and public places. 40% of India’s population is below the age of 18 years, out of which 400 million is the world’s largest child population. Less than half of India’s children between the ages of 6 and 14 generally go to school. A little over one-third of all children who enrol in grade one reach grade eight. One in every ten children is disabled in India.95 in every 1000 children born in India; do not see their fifth birthday.
Underprivileged Kids who live in slums and slum dwellers in India are characterized by acute over-crowding, insanitary, unhealthy and dehumanizing living conditions. People residing in slums suffer from a lack of basic amenities, extreme poverty and hunger. They engage their children in labour and other menial jobs like rag picking and waste picking and do not value education, therefore dropout rate is very high compared to the children in rural India. Children living in slum areas do not have sufficient space to study after school hours. As a result, the underprivileged students are not able to study, hence they will be reeling under poverty, hunger and diseases, besides more crime rate in India. In a bid to resolve the problem, UNICEF came out with many recommendations. Since 2014, UNICEF has played an instrumental role in directing global attention to child poverty. The Global Coalition to End Child Poverty became a powerful initiative for raising awareness about child poverty and accelerating global efforts to tackle it.UNICEF Education Strategy, 2019–2030 guides UNICEF’s work in education, confirming its commitment to deliver with partners the Sustainable Development goals for education and the realization of the Convention on the Rights of the Child – so that every child learns. Many countries including India adopt the schemes of UNICEF for the well-being of the underprivileged students.
BBMP came out with a scheme- night school, which is expected to plug this gap. Apparently, these schools are meant for underprivileged children BBMP runs 165 schools in the city and several students living in slums study in the schools run by BBMP; they are in need of special attention. BBMP roll this scheme based on the Vidyarthi Belaku scheme implemented from 2016-to 19 in Ballari. This scheme benefited thousands of students and many of them have achieved success, therefore they are leading a good life. Ballari district is the pioneer in the implementation of the scheme, which could resolve some of the supra problems. Encouraged by the grand success of night schools in Ballari, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is planning to replicate them in the city to ensure better performance by underprivileged students of government schools. In Ballari, the classes were held from 6 pm to 8 pm, where the attendance was considerably good and the dropout rate was reduced sizably.
The programme was conceptualized by V Ram Prasanth Manohar, who was then CEO of Ballari Zilla panchayat, who is at present, working as special commissioner estate/education/lake/forest BBMP. He is planning to implement the same programme in Bengaluru as well. Tushar Giri Nath, the chief commissioner of BBMP, who also worked with the department of public instruction (DPI), is keen on implementing the scheme for Bangalore schools. This scheme if implemented will improve the overall pass percentage in schools, which in turn promote the living standard. This scheme was even hailed by the Union government. He added that many NGOs will train the teachers to handle the situation effectively. He also said that his department will come up with an action plan and teachers will also be trained to handle children after school hours.
This scheme is very good from the viewpoint of the underprivileged. Funds are not crunched for this kind of program. Edu news appreciates the BBMP and its authorities for coming out with a novel scheme for the benefit of underprivileged children. Also, the media urge the other districts in Karnataka to implement the scheme based on merit.