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Every child has the right to education

26Child labor refers to the employment of children in any work that deprives them of their childhood and denies their fundamental right to education. Child labor is considered exploitative and legislations across the world prohibit this practice.However, these laws do not consider ‘all’ work by children as child labor. Exceptions include work by child artists, supervised training and certain categories of work such as those by Amish children who are traditionally obliged to perform some work to help their parents.According to the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) most recent estimate, as many as 168 million children worldwide are in Child Labor, out of which 120 million are between the ages 5 and 14, and five million live in slavery-like conditions.In 2002, ILO launched ‘The World Day Against Child Labor’ to raise awareness on child labor. Each year on June 12, the World Day Against Child Labor brings together nations, organizations and civil society in a bid to end child labor. It also helps create a global forum to debate on what can be done to help children.In 2015, more than 55 countries, including India, marked the World Day with the theme ‘No to Child Labor, Yes to Quality Education,’ and with hundreds of events. Poverty is undoubtedly a dominant factor that forces children into work. Children from poor socio-economic backgrounds are forced into labor to supplement their household’s meager income.Lack of free education in some developing countries has also contributed to children dropping out of school and entering into the labor force.According to the ‘Eliminating Child Labor in Tobacco Growing Foundation’ (ECLT), the prevalence of AIDS in developing countries has resulted in enormous number of orphans who are forced into child labor.There’s an acute lack of national laws and policies that are meant to protect children from hazardous labor. In many countries, despite laws that criminalize child labor, they’re not effectively implemented. Employers prefer to hire children because they are cheaper than their adult counterparts. Some of the other causes of child labor include parental illiteracy, ignorance of parents about the consequences of child labor, lack of employment for adults, non-availability and non-accessibility to schools, and irrelevant school curriculum.In India, more than 10 million children have full-time or part-time jobs. Large numbers of children work in rural areas, particularly in agriculture, but children work almost in every sector like fishing, mining, construction, manufacturing and domestic services.As laborers, children work in dangerous conditions where they’re surrounded by heavy machinery and chemicals. There have even been many instances of death due to biological, physical and chemical hazards. Malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies are highly prevalent among working children.Education is a very important part of development and a crucial step to tackle child labor. Many child laborers do not attend school; those who attend classes, also continue to work.A recent UNESCO data on school enrollment reveals that 58 million children of primary school age and 63 million adolescents of junior secondary school age are still not enrolled in school. Many who are enrolled do not attend school on a regular basis.As adults, former child laborers are more likely to end up in poorly paid jobs or to be unemployed. The key tool to end child labor is free and compulsory good quality education for all children up to the minimum age for admission to employment.World Day Against Child Labor 2015 calls for:-Free,compulsory and quality education for all children at least to the minimum age for admission to employment and action to reach those presently in child labor;-New efforts to ensure that national policies on child labor and education are consistent and effective;-Develop policies that assure access to quality education and investment in the profession of teaching.ILO’s World Report on Child Labor 2015The new ILO report ‘The World Report on Child Labor 2015’ prepared for the international day states that around 20% to 30% of children in developing countries complete their schooling and enter the labor market by the age of 15.”Keeping children in school and receiving a good education until at least the minimum age of employment will determine the whole life of a child. National policies should be directed towards removing children and young people from hazardous jobs and, of course, towards removing the hazards in the workplace,” said Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General.The report shows that young persons who have been burdened by work as children are more likely to be in unpaid family jobs or in low paying jobs.”Children, whose education is denied or impeded by child labor, enter adolescence with lesser competencies and skills needed for securing decent work, and much more likely to be vulnerable to joblessness or low paid, or insecure work in hazardous conditions. Their vulnerability is frequently exacerbated by related factors such as health problems stemming from their premature involvement in work,” Ryder explained.Under ILO’s School-to-Work Transition Survey program, it was found that in developing countries, many youth leave school at or below the age of 15 years old.”Early ‘school leavers’ who do eventually transit are less likely than more-educated youth to ever secure stable jobs. Those leaving school prior to the age of 15 years that do manage to secure jobs take longer to do so than other youth,” ILO saidILO report also reveals that around 75 million youth those aged 15 to 24 are unemployed, while more have to satisfy with jobs that do not come under decent work category. The presence of opportunities for the youth to get decent work has an effect on the prevalence of child labor. ILO defines decent work as that which provides a fair income and security in the workplace.As per ILO global estimate, there are more than 47.5 million adolescents aged 15 to 17 in hazardous work. Hazardous work is the employment that can harm the health and safety of children. The ILO considers this the “worst form of child labor.”The number of hazardous adolescent workers is greatest in India at 2.4 million.Countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos where agriculture predominates in the rural areas have highest rates for hazardous work. “This highlights the significance of area- and sector-specific targeting of interventions to eradicate child labor,” ILO said.Globally, more young boys than young girls aged 15 to 17 are in hazardous work. However in younger children, more girls are involved in hazardous work than boys.ILO RecommendationsThe World Report on Child Labor 2015 recommends early interventions to get children out of child labor and into school. It also urges nations to take actions to facilitate the transition from school to decent work for young people. The 47.5 million young people in hazardous work and the girls and young women must be given special attention.-Promote decent work opportunities for the youth and invest in educating and training the youth to enhance their employability-Encourage youth entrepreneurship-Create national policies towards removing the youth from hazardous jobs-Ensure youth’s rights at work to protect them from abuse and exposure to hazards-Enforcement of labor laws-Pay attention to girls, who “face special difficulties in entering and remaining in school owing to factors such as early marriage and the demands of their domestic responsibilities-Girls are also vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation. Inclusive education strategies must be promoted to help face their unique challenges.-Laws and practices that discriminate against women in the labor market must be