Education unions work to ensure a child’s place is in school, not at work

published 12 June 2017 updated 13 June 2017

This year’s World Day Against Child Labour has focused efforts on the fallout of conflicts and disasters, and how they are catalysts for pushing millions of children into labour or into the hands of traffickers.

With an increased absence of social protection and the failure of public policies to ensure that all children enjoy their fundamental right to education, internally displaced children and refugees and unaccompanied minors are particularly vulnerable.

At 168 million, the number of children forced to work is staggering, and many of them live in conflict and disaster-affected areas. In response, Education International (EI) and 14 affiliate unions in Europe have set-up a programme to make the right to education of refugee and asylum seeking children a reality.

On this year’s World Day against Child Labour, education unions are calling for:

·         Free, compulsory, quality public education for all children in safe environments at least to the minimum age of employment and action to reach those presently not in school

·         Investment in education and in social protection schemes

·         Removal of all costs, direct and indirect, of education and incentive programmes to promote school attendance

·         Recruitment, rights and good professional status for teachers (in line with the ILO/UNESCO recommendation on the status of teachers)

·         Transitional approach from schooling into decent work opportunities

Next steps

An EI delegation is heading to the UN Global Conference to Eradicate Child Labour (Argentina, 14-16 November 2017). The delegation’s primary objective is to have governments commit to increased funding for quality free public education to endow all children and youth with the knowledge, skills and competencies needed later in life.

To learn more about child labour and its root cause, please visit EI’s in-depth topic dossier page, From work to school - Putting an end to child labour, here.