A few days back, one of my colleagues asked me how he could help a child and whether he should join some NGO working in the field of child welfare. Different opinions came up from people involved in the discussion. Some of them suggested that the best thing a child could get in his life as a help is education. Almost everyone agreed on the point that education is an asset a child will preserve all of his life and this will not only help that one child but many in the coming generations. They were definitely talking about the children who were poor and deprived of resources. Well, in many countries, there are several organisations and institutes which are working in the area of providing resources to such children. Some help by providing free education, some provide books and stationary material so that they can study despite a lack of resources.
There is no argument against the point that education is one of the most regarded gifts for a child. However, how we help them is something debatable. Many think that making school education free can help children in pursuing education. Others think that providing meals to students in school can get them attracted towards education. However, we all forget the basic challenges in imparting education. In most of the emerging countries, the poorest children instead of studying still take part in child labour despite it being illegal. They support their families by doing petty jobs and at times by working in hazardous conditions. How can we ask the family members of these children to send them to schools and stop earning money? For helping children to actually get education, there is a need to solve the deep-rooted problems and not just donate money.
There have been many arguments on how underprivileged children can be helped and how their lives can be made better with the help of education. However, there are fewer discussions on how these children can be motivated to take a decision to pursue education instead of doing labour for cheap. At this point of time, individuals cannot be helpful by just giving donations. Governments should intervene in the matter and take some stringent steps to improve the lives of millions of children across the world.
I have been to a university in the UK. I found out that most of the administrative and clerical work over there was being handled by students. Students in their free time do these jobs and they get hourly payment from the university management. This was quite striking. Students who were coming from different countries could save a lot of money and even make a good amount by working within the University itself, in a safe environment. In emerging countries, schools often have fewer human resources to handle all the school work seamlessly. At this point, students can be given opportunities to work on the school premises according to the class they study in. Firstly, they will work in a safe environment. Secondly, they will continue learning skills such as management and leadership in the school itself. This kind of structure will not put an additional burden on the poor parents sending their children to school.
A school is a place where students learn major skills. They decide what they need to follow for their whole life. This can be extensively supported if students get to learn skills which can be helpful for them to earn later in their life. In several countries, such as India and Bangladesh, the government is providing specific training within the school premises that is free of cost for the students so that they can learn several skills. There are classes for beauty courses for girls so that after their schooling they are able to earn for themselves and think of their future. Such an arrangement can be supported by respective government authorities in schools.
This will have an additional benefit. On one hand, students will get to know how their current education can be utilised at the workplace and they will also learn a skill that can be helpful for them throughout life. This skill development at an early age gives students a long time to hone those skills and get out of poverty.
These certifications can be greatly helpful for the students to get a decent job after their schooling. There can be several certifications such as Computer Language Certification, Foreign Language Certification, etc. These can help a student to get a job easily. These diploma courses act as a reference letter from their schools. They certify that a student is capable of working in a specific domain. Such certificates are even used by the professional to get promotion and rise up in their careers. If school students are promoted from the beginning to work towards these, they can instantly grow in their career after schooling.
All the above steps can be taken only if a student is motivated enough to take education and his studies seriously. For this, a student needs to be encouraged and given a clear direction for a future career. Career counselling in school helps the students to realise their own potential and work hard in a focused direction. Schools can conduct psychometric tests and 1:1 career counselling sessions to help every student individually. It has to be understood that every student has a different talent and they should be guided according to their talent. A student who is interested in calculations and analytical subjects can perform better in careers demanding analytical aptitude. This makes career counselling an essential element of education.
These are only a few methods by which the government can help students who are deprived and can’t easily afford the cost of education. The government’s support can help these students to take the path of education without any additional pressures financially.