A new EI publication called Go for the Goal: End Child Labour is being launched on 12 June to mark the World Day Against Child Labour.
The initiative is a collaborative effort with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which estimates that there are more than 200 million children around the world who are victims of child labour. More than 100 million of those children work in very hazardous conditions where their basic rights and dignity are violated.
EI affiliates have long recognised the link between eliminating child labour and achieving the goal of quality education for all.
EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, also underlines the role of teachers in keeping children in school. He argues that: “Teachers are key players in existing initiatives and synergies to tackle child labour and keep children in school. Teacher organisations work in partnership with other civil society groups, as well as national and international institutions involved in combating child labour.”
The publication articulates the need for an appropriate curriculum, and states that children are more likely to go to school if the education offered is relevant.
It also argues that beyond professionally-trained and qualified teachers, critically important as they are, it is also necessary for a ‘healthy, safe and friendly school environment, safe passage to and from school, relevant curricula and access to schools, especially in rural areas’ as being paramount to combating child labour and getting children, especially girls, into school.
’Go for the Goal: End Child Labour’ proposes two concrete activities that teachers and pupils can undertake on World Day Against Child Labour.
The first activity aims to help children understand the issue of child labour. Some of the activities are suitable for children above the age of 14, while the rest are specifically tailoredto younger children.
The second activity is called: ’Go for the Goal: Show the Red Card to Child Labour!‘This is closely linked to the Football World Cup which is taking place in South Africa during June and July. Just as a red card is shown by the referee during a football match to send off a player, the activity will also be conducted by pupils flashing their own red cards to draw the public’s attention to the malign effects of child labour.
The EI publication also advises teachers from affiliate members on how to talk to children about the issues of fair play and inclusion, not only in the context of sport but also in society at large. The activities will help teachers and their pupils to approach the issue of children’s rights and what this right to education means. The activities will also bring to their attention the multitude of children who continue to be exploited in manufacturing and other industries, including the production of sports goods.
In this year, 10 years after ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour the most widely-ratified international labour convention – came into effect, the good news is that we are six years ahead of the global target for eliminating the worst forms of child labour. While the global movement has made excellent progress in reducing child labour, efforts must continue, without any let up so that we can deliver the commitment of a world free of the worst forms of child labour by 2016.
EI is working with the ILO, UNICEF, the World Bank and the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment to help draft a Roadmap for achieving the elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour by 2016.
EI is supporting a global petition that was set up by AOb, the Dutch teachers’ union, and their partners. It is called ‘Stop Child Labour – School is the best place to work’ and EI strongly encourages all affiliates and members to support the petition.
This article was published in Worlds of Education, Issue 34, June 2010.