In 2010, nearly 5.6 million children aged 6 to13 were out of school in Bangladesh. These children missed out schooling at the “right age” or were forced to drop out, mainly for poverty. Many of them could not afford uniforms, books, or transportation to go to school, or had to earn a living for the family. These children were deprived of education, which reduces their chances of finding higher-paid jobs that could lift them and their families out of poverty.
ROSC II allows the poorest children, who otherwise may miss education, to study in learning centres, called Ananda Schools (‘schools of joy'). These schools provide stipends to eligible children to ease the burden on their families, and provides free books, stationeries and uniforms. The Ananda schools are established in upazilas with high poverty and low enrolment and completion rates.
Ananda Schools are different from normal primary schools: here, the students are older (between 8- to 14-year olds); school timing is flexible; and a single class teacher teaches the students until they are ready for the Grade 5 examination, allowing the poor children to join the secondary schools. The local communities establish, own and manage Ananda Schools with support from the government and the local NGOs. The Centre Management Committees (CMC) are accountable to parents and students, and the ROSC Unit (ROSCU), the Directorate of Primary Education. Since January 2017, ROSC-II has been expanded to cover the poorest children in slums in 11 City Corporations. It pilots a Pre-Vocational Skills Training program, for adolescents who have completed at least grade 3 but are aged 15 and above and not enrolled in regular schools. They receive allowance and tuition vouchers to participate in market-responsive skills training programs. With technical assistance from Save the Children, ROSC II deploys service providers (NGOs) to provide training—in selected trades and enterprise development—who establish industry linkage with potential employers.