Combating Child Labour through Education

The Project aims to strengthen the policy level linkages between work on child labour and education, leading to action which will improve the opportunities for those in or vulnerable to child labour to benefit from education.

Project background

The ILO estimates that there are 152 million child labourers between the ages of 5 and 14. Most of these children belong to the most marginalised groups in society and come from families living in poverty. At the same time some 67 million children are not enrolled in primary school and a similar number are not enrolled in junior secondary school level. On present trends the international community will fail to meet the Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal primary education by 2015.

It is against this background that the ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour, with the support of the Netherland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is implementing a project aimed at combating child labour through education. The main objective of the project is to strengthen the policy level linkages between work on child labour and education, leading to action which will improve the opportunities for those in or vulnerable to child labour to benefit from education. This will be pursued particularly through

  • integrating attention to child labour in education sector planning and programme discussions;
  • initiatives to tackle child labour through education and to integrate knowledge of successful interventions in policy discussions; and
  • building capacity of stakeholders to actively engage in advocacy on the child labour and education linkage.

The experience four countries will be captured for dissemination and review within global discussions on child labour and education thereby having a broader relevance.

Project strategies

Promoting attention to child labour in national education sector plans

A key objective of education policy should be to expand access to quality education for all boys and girls. Tackling child labour will get more children into school, and improving the accessibility, quantity and quality of education will help prevent child labour—a win-win for countries. The main framework for education planning is an education sector plan. The project will help to generate momentum to include targeting of children in or vulnerable to child labour in education sector planning processes.

Building capacity of partners

The project will work with national partners to increase understanding of child labour and education linkages, and to strengthen capacity to effectively participate in discussions and action on these issues. The project will cooperate with local education sector networks, social partners, civil society organisations and others with a view to building capacity of such partners to take forward work in this area. The project will also support a number of South – South contacts and exchanges.

Programmes to tackle child labour

The project will support programmes aimed at reducing and preventing child labour, and integrating the knowledge generated by these interventions in education sector planning discussions. The nature of the interventions will be guided by the local context but could include programmes to provide transitional second chance education, to improve school environments and facilities, or to improve quality and relevance.

Utilising data on child labour to target child labour in Education Plans

A recent communiqué from the Education for All High Level Ministerial Group stated that “National governments must identify, target and respond to the needs and circumstances of the marginalized in a flexible manner. Good data on marginalized population groups in formal and non-formal education settings, as well as those who are out of school, must be collected, analysed, and used.” In the past ten years the knowledge base on child labour has developed considerably. However at the present time there is relatively little connection between analysis of the data on child labour collected through household surveys and consideration of education planning. The possibility of making better use of this data to support education planning is being increasingly recognized and this work will be developed through the project.

Strengthening international partnerships and global advocacy on child labour and education

International partnerships such as the Global Task Force on Child Labour and Education for All and the Understanding Children’s work project provide potential for extending cooperation between UN agencies and others concerned with tackling child labour. The project will provide support to research and advocacy in cooperation with such partnerships.

Strengthening skills training programmes

Without access to basic education children can be vulnerable. However for many older out of school children returning to school may not be an option. These children, adolescents who have reached the minimum age of employment, may be more interested in the chance to develop work and life skills through vocational training. Building on the ILO’s experience in vocational training the project will develop a new resource material to provide guidance to those concerned with developing skills programmes for older out of school children.

Follow up to the Hague Global Child Labour Conference

In May 2010 a Global Child Labour Conference attended by representatives of 97 countries agreed a Roadmap for achieving the elimination of the worst forms of child labour by 2016. Action to improve access to free, compulsory, quality education for all children is a central part of the Roadmap. The project will support work to follow up on the Roadmap and the experience and knowledge of the project will also feed into the follow up process.

Main activities in Indonesia

  • Taking forward implementation of the National Action Plan on elimination of the worst forms of child labour with a focus on education and skills;
  • Reaching child labourers through inclusive education using the existing ILO materials;
  • Providing education support to hard to reach child labourers;
  • Social partners and media support for Advocacy and awareness raising on child labour and education; and
  • Research and policy briefs on Child Labour and Education.

Key partners

  • Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration
  • Ministry of National Education and Culture
  • Ministry of Social Affairs
  • Indonesian Employers’ Association (Apindo)
  • Trade Unions
  • Non Government Organizations