Education International
Education International

Teacher union in Ghana releases new study on child labour

published 11 June 2008 updated 11 June 2008

This week, as part of Education International’s campaign against child labour, the Ghanaian affiliates, led by the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) launched a new research study entitled: “National Child Labour Situation and Teacher Unions’ Best Practices and Challenges in This Field”.

Professor Stephen Ayidiya, of the Department of Social Work at the University of Ghana, led a team of researchers in the collation of data. He said the EI-sponsored research was to get an overview of the child labour situation in Ghana and to identify challenges, best practices and lessons learnt from EI member organizations in that regard.

Available statistics indicate that 39% of children in Ghana are engaged in the work force, and more than 1 million of them are under 13 years of age.

Besides the three Ghanaian teacher unions — GNAT, NAGRAT and TEWU — the meeting also gathered other key stakeholders including representatives from the Ministry of Education, Labour and Social Welfare, employers’ associations, UN agencies and NGOs. (Additional information about the events in Ghana are included in a news release issued by GNAT, which is reprinted below.)

A series of similar meetings will also take place during the next two weeks in Brazil, Honduras and Morocco. The meetings, together with a variety of other events, will be part of the 2008 World Day Against Child Labour campaign. This year’s theme is "Education: the right answer to child labour" and teacher unions worldwide are joining efforts to mark the day. For more information about World Day Against Child Labour 2008, please refer to the link below.

These activities are part of a worldwide programme called “Child Labour and Education: The teacher unions’ contribution”. The programme has two main objectives:

  • Strengthening the teacher unions in their knowledge and capacity to address child labour issues;
  • Raising awareness about importance of education, and in particular the EFA goals, to combat child labour at all levels.

The programme is funded mainly by FNV Mondiaal - the confederation of unions in the Netherlands, and EI.



Ahead of the World Day Against Child Labour which falls on June 12, 2008, the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) wishes to state that quality public education is the remedy for stemming the tide of the escalating problem of child labour in the country.

Available statistics indicate that, thirty-nine percent (39%) of children in Ghana are engaged in economic activity, with over 1,031,220 out of the number under 13years of age.

The Association acknowledges government’s efforts to improve the rate of access to education in the country with the introduction of the Capitation Grant and the School Feeding Programme. While these are laudable, it is our belief that without the provision of good classrooms, motivated and qualified teachers, the necessary books and other educational materials, quality public education will still elude Ghanaian children. GNAT, as a teachers’ organization, recognizes education as the cornerstone of national development. Education represents an invaluable investment in human capital. Ghana cannot develop without ensuring and delivering the very best of education for its citizens.

GNAT is of the view that a child who is in school full time is more likely not to engage in child labour. Hence, expanding access to free and compulsory education is crucial to reducing child labour. The association maintains that, access to education is necessary, but not sufficient element, as the challenge to retain children in school.

The Association is using this day, World Day Against Child Labour, to appeal to parents to discard the notion that the government’s capitation grant encompasses everything the child needs to attend and stay in school and endeavour to provide their basic needs including school stationery and uniforms to make them comfortable in school.

We wish to appeal to all who are interested in the development of society to join in the crusade against child labour. Let us all continue to do whatever we can to ensure that all children of school-going age remain in school.

On the 12th of June, the Ghana National Association of Teachers will celebrate the day with a Community durbar at the premises of the South Ablekuma Sub-Metro office of the Ghana Education Service (at the old Tuesday Market, Mamprobi). The durbar will be preceded by a route march of school children. We cordially invite all and sundry to join us to celebrate the day.