To a large extent the scalability arises out of its replicability.
Any large-scale implementation of the model has to be undertaken by involving the government and the fact that the program does not involve any parallel structures helps in its scalability. More important the project in effect implements an idea that has strong roots in the state government’s social welfare policy. Right from the early 60’s the government has been implementing a program of running social welfare hostels. The main purpose of these hostels that mainly cater to children belonging to SC, ST and BC communities is to provide an atmosphere more congenial to the continuation of their studies than the one provided in their households.
Each hostel is provided with a warden who also functions as a tutor while the students are all attached to the nearest school during the daytime. As a model this is distinctly similar to the nearest school during the daytime. As a model this is distinctly similar to the one adopted by the MVF of providing a bridge between the household and the school, even if a conscious attempt to focus on child labour is missing, and even if it does not have a component of community based mobilisation. In fact it is this similarity that has promoted the government to run the ‘ back- to- school’ program on the broad lines of the MVF short-term camp. This program according to some reports initiated as many as two lakh children into schools in the year 1999-2000.
The main difference, apart from the lack of focus on child labour mentioned above, is that the MVF uses the hostel approach only for difficult cases like bonded child labour and other ‘hard core’ cases preferring to rely on direct entry to schools in most cases. It has been the MVF’s experience that for every child it needs to put through a short-term camps and hostel nearly ten others join schools directly. In terms of scalability, given the fact that the government hostels have a capacity of 4 lakh, this implies that, properly utilised, a program broadly on the lines of ‘ back to school’ combined with the major elements of the MVF model, can ensure that as many as 40 lakh children are sent to school.