Education is the sole conclusive weapon against child labor
On the occasion of the World Day against Child Labor, June 12, the members of the Dianova network call for free, compulsory and quality education for tackling child labor more effectively.
Despite progress made since the early 2000s (according to the International Labour Organization, the number of children in child labor has declined by one third), approximately 120 million children aged 5 to 14 years are still obliged to work, while in some countries, many of 15-17 years-old are in hazardous work, sometimes in the most extreme forms of child labor.
The World Day against Child Labor is an opportunity to examine the extent of child labor worldwide and raise public awareness of the situation of tens of millions of boys and girls deprived of their childhood and of their rights to education. The World Day is dedicated this year to the importance of quality education in combating child labor.
The term "child labor" does not comprise activities such as helping their parents around the home, assisting a family business or earning pocket money outside school hours. "Child labor" is defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.
Early schooling leaving is the primary responsible of the vicious circle generated by child labor:
Children engaged in child labor generally do not go to school nor do they follow any form of training program. Without education or training, children become young adults struggling to escape poverty or to get a decent job. When they become parents, they usually have no idea of ??the benefits of education and reproduce the same pattern for their own children.
To fight against child labor more effectively, we wall for:
- Intervening early to help children get out of child labor and into school (free and compulsory education for all boys and girls). Not only because education is their fundamental human right, but also because ending educational marginalization is the best way to help these children get decent jobs later.
- Providing vocational training for older adolescents to increase their chances of getting a better job, while ensuring remedial basic education;
- Promoting respect for national laws and the international Convention on the Rights of the Child, which stresses that "the child has the right to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to interfere with the child's education (…) "
- Promoting quality education and educational environment through appropriate budgets and trained, motivated professionals with decent wages and working conditions;
- Accounting for the special vulnerabilities of girls and female adolescents when intervening against child labor. Female children face special difficulties in entering or remaining in school due to factors such as early marriage, chores and care-giving demands; in addition they are more vulnerable to worst forms of child labor such as commercial sexual exploitation.