PAID TO LEARN » Overview
The "I Am Paid to Learn" programme educates children who work in the urban slums of Pakistan. With nearly 1800 students in schools across Pakistan, a 2.2-year accelerated primary education course is taught to the children who spend most of their days toiling in car-repair shops & other general stores in Lahore & Rawalpindi. The programme also sponsors the continuing education of top graduates who are encouraged to enroll in mainstream secondary schools.

The Problem
19 million children in Pakistan cannot afford to go to school. 10.5 million such children are forced to work in menial jobs to support family income. These working children are exploited by their employers: they are grossly underpaid and receive no education to improve their future prospects. Most of them are completely illiterate and some even live on the street, finding it difficult to integrate into mainstream society even if they are given the opportunity.

Our Solution and Impact
We recruit working children from the streets of urban slums across Pakistan and teach them an accelerated non-formal curriculum of primary education. This helps the children see a window out of child labour; makes them aware of their rights as children, as workers and as citizens; empowers them as responsible and more complete future citizens of a young Pakistan, all the while making a dent on the country's literacy rate. The programme serves nearly 1800 working children at any time, nearly a 700 of whom graduate from the primary education course every year.
Programme Details
  • Permission is sought from the students' parents and employers before enrolling them in the free schools to ensure success.
  • The primary education course is taught through a customized activity-based curriculum for English, Urdu, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies.
  • The programme is taught over a period of 26 months and is split into 4-month terms
  • In Classes 1-2 English, Urdu and Math books are introduced formally whereas Science, Social Studies and Islamiyat are integrated into the existing subjects.
  • Two basic assessments are conducted each month with the aim of establishing a practice of ongoing, targeted student evaluation. Designated academic design, approve and monitor these tests regularly.
  • Continuing education is sponsored for the top graduates of the programme.
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