Education International
Education International

12 June: World Day Against Child Labour - All children in school, not at work!

published 12 June 2008 updated 12 June 2008

On the World Day Against Child Labour, 12 June, teacher trade unions around the world will be calling on governments to ensure quality education for all children, and decent work for their parents.

Education International, the global union federation representing 30 million teachers and education workers, is raising its voice along with those of educators everywhere to say that quality education is the right response to the scourge of child labour.

Worldwide, more than 200 million children are forced to labour in fields, factories, mines, sweatshops, and even the streets. While the number of children exploited in the worst forms of child labour has declined in recent years, the problem remains enormous and teachers are determined to do their bit to tackle it.

“As educators, we have a clear responsibility to defend the right of every child to quality public education,” said Fred van Leeuwen, General Secretary of Education International (EI). “That means seeking solutions to the problem of child labour, and developing strategies to move children out of the workplace and back into the classroom, where they belong.”

To mark the World Day Against Child Labour, EI has created a new documentary video featuring a highly successful program implemented by the National Teachers’ Union of Morocco. In that country alone an estimated 320,000 children are forced to quit school every year. For the past three years, teacher union activists have developed a programme to prevent child labour by reducing the drop out rate at five elementary schools in poor neighbourhoods of the city of Fez.

The video is entitled “No to child labour! Yes to education!” To view it, please click here.

Representatives of EI will participate in the World Day Against Child Labour launch ceremony at the International Labour Conference in Geneva, and on a panel organized by the International Centre on Child Labour and Education, the World Bank and the International Labour Organisation in Washington, DC.

In cooperation with the ILO, EI has also published a poster, a brochure and an accompanying teachers’ guide entitled “Quality education is the right response to child labour.”

National campaigns including marches, conferences, debates, poster competitions and dramatic performances by children are being organised by EI member organisations in Albania, India, Jamaica, Brazil, Ghana, Honduras, and Morocco. Affiliates in the latter four countries will also release findings of new research on strengthening the teacher unions’ knowledge and capacity to prevent and eliminate child labour. Members in Barbados, Bulgaria, Burundi, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guinea Bissau, Indonesia, Kenya, Spain, and Uganda have also planned awareness-raising activities.

For more information about Education International’s work to prevent and eliminate child labour, please contact: Donatella Montaldo, EI Children's Rights Coordinator on (+32) 2-224-0676 or write to donatella.montaldo@ei-ie.org

Nancy Knickerbocker, EI communications coordinator on (+32) 2-224-0681 (office) or (+32) 476-850-701 (mobile) or write to editor@ei-ie.org

"No to child labour! Yes to education!"

Teachers around the world are determined to help tackle the problem of child labour. This short documentary shines the spotlight on successful strategies by the Moroccan National Teachers' Union (SNE) to prevent child labour by reducing school drop-out rates.

A production of Education International, in cooperation with the SNE and the National Education Association (NEA). Archival footage courtesy of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).