12 June 2008 – This year the World Day against Child Labour will be marked around the world with activities to raise awareness that education is the right response to child labour: education for all children at least to the minimum age of employment; education policies that address child labour by provision of properly resourced quality education and skills training; and education to promote awareness on the need to tackle child labour.
The ILO has estimated that some 165 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are involved in child labour. Many of these children work long hours, often in dangerous conditions. Child labour is closely associated with poverty. Many poor families are unable to afford school fees or other school costs. The family may depend on the contribution that a working child makes to the household’s income, and place more importance on that than on education. And when a family has to make a choice between sending either a boy or girl to school, it is often the girl who loses out …
… Among the most important steps required are:
- - provision of free and compulsory education;
- - tackling barriers to girls education;
- - ensuring that children have access to a school and a safe and quality learning environment;
- - providing catch up education opportunities for children and youth who have so far missed out on formal schooling;
- - tackling the worldwide shortage of teachers and ensuring a properly trained and professional teaching force;
- - enforcing laws on child labour and education in line with international standards;
- - tackling poverty, and creating decent work for adults;
- - raising public awareness to tackle child labour.