We have only Bridge Course centres run under NCLP (National Child Labour Project ) as day time schools in some parts of our state, mostly run by NGOs. These centres are only useful to children, who reside nearby those NCLP centres, but school dropouts are there throughout the state.
Most of the children are either school drop outs at lower classes or children out of school or put into farm/ industrial or domestic work.
The Article 21-A of our Constitution and Section 3 (1) of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 ( RTE Act 2009 ) provides a Right for children to have free and compulsory education up to the age of sixteen years and it’s our responsibility to see that all the school dropouts be provided education. As these children either rescued on roads or from child labour, may not be in the proximity to the NCLP centres to attend and can’t stay there as they are not residential.
Under Section 4 of the RTE Act 2009, the child has the Right to have a Bridge Course learning based on his / her age and to the class to be admitted.
So, there is an urgent need to establish Bridge Course schools at least one per a revenue division in each district to enable such children to stay in such facilities and undergo a Bridge Course to be mainstreamed into the local schools in their localities.
Andhra Pradesh Government is having a grass-root level organisation called Gram Secretariats or Ward Volunteers, which can be made use of to identify school dropouts and child labour. These children can be mainstreamed after imparting a bridge course depending on the age of the child and his understanding capacities.
Establishment of Residential Bridge Course schools will supplement the Government’s efforts in protecting Child Rights and also in achieving the hundred per cent literacy.