Education has been central to the work of IPEC since its creation and is instrumental in developing and implementing measures to prevent child labour, remove children from hazardous work, provide for their rehabilitation and social reintegration and offer alternatives for them and their families. History has shown how instrumental education has been to the abolition of child labour, establishing a skilled workforce and promoting development based on principles of social justice.

The ILO is promoting the Education for All initiative in the context of its decent work campaign, not only as means to combat child labour, but also as part of its work to develop vocational and skills training, to promote the status of teachers and to uphold their individual rights and the rights of their organizations. Through both global technical cooperation and policy dialogue, IPEC aims to influence national education policies so that education systems prevent children from being drawn prematurely into labour and are more responsive to the needs of children released from hazardous work.

Teachers and their organizations are especially well placed to help prevent child labour, particularly in the areas of awareness raising, the monitoring of former child labourers and at-risk children and school-based social support, including feeding or health programmes. Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in the number of IPEC-supported action programmes implemented by these groups.