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Article Summary

Abolishment Of Child Labour & Importance Of Child Education

International Labour  Organisation (ILO) defines the term ’child labour’ as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.

Not all work done by children is classi fied as chi ld labour. Children’s or adolescents’ participation in work that does not affect their health and personal development or interferes with their schooling is generally regarded as being something positive. This includes activities such as helping their parents around the home, assisting in a family business or earning pocket money outside school hours and during school holidays. These kinds of activities contribute to children’s development and to the welfare of their families; they provide them with skills and experience, and help to prepare them to be productive members of society during their adult life.

India has the largest number of child labour in the world. The official figure is 13 lakh. But the actual number may be much higher. Indian children are the source of cheap labour because they can be paid lower wages or can be abused without provoking retaliation. These children work in industries manufacturing crackers, diamond polishing, glass and brassware, carpet weaving, bangle making, lock making and mica cutting to name just a few. A large number of children also work as domestic servants. Poverty is cited as a major cause of child labour, but it is not the only determinant. Inadequate number of schools or even the expenses of providing education leave some of the children with practically no option but to work.

The attitude of parents also contributes to child labour. Compulsory elementary education may help improve this thinking. The problem of child labour cannot be eliminated in one stroke. Only multi-dimensional strategies including compulsory elementary education, eradication of poverty, eradicating parental illiteracy, making child labour illegal will help in achieving this objective. Stringent legal provisions, severe punishment for violation of laws, rehabilitation of children already engaged in work have to go along with abolition of child labour in the country. Therefore, it is high time that a stringent law for abolition of chi ld labour is enacted. Presently, the existing law is The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, which talks more of regulation than prohibition of child labour. Recently, a bill called ‘The Abolition of Child Labour, 2013’ has been introduced in Parliament. If this act is passed, it will aboli sh child labour altogether and supersede all the other laws pertaining to child labour.Education is a crucial component of any effective effort to eliminate chi ld labour. Universal access to education, and particularly to free and compulsory education of good quality secured until the minimum age for entry to employment, is a critical factor in the struggle against the economic exploi tation of children. UNESCO helps children acquire basic education and enroll in primary and secondary schools so that they are not vulnerable or subject to child labour. UNESCO is part of the Global Task Force on Child Labour and Education for All, together with ILO, UNICEF, the World Bank, UNDP, Education International and the Global Ma against Child Labour.

The primary objective is:
I. Extending and improving access to free, compulsory, quality education for all children, with a particular focus on girls, and ensuring that all children under the minimum age for employment are in full-time education, and including where appropriate and consistent with relevant international labour standards, in vocational or technical education;
II. Adopting strategies to remove costs that represent a barrier to education, in particular fees and school supplies;
III. Adopting strategies to (i) encourage and monitor school enrolment, attendance,retention and reintegration, through, for instance, scholarship and school meal programs to help poor families reduce the costs of education, and (ii) create a child-friendly learning envi ronment, in which children are protected from abuse, violence and discrimination;
IV. Developing concrete plans and mechanisms to meet the needs of children engaged in the worst forms of child labour as per ILO Convention and support their transition into appropriate education or vocational training. The International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it. Each year on 12 June, the World Day brings together governments, employers and workers organizations, civil society, as well as millions of people from around the world to highlight the plight of child labourers and what can be done to help them.  1The ILO’s adoption of Convention  No. 182 in 1999 consolidated the global consensus on child labour elimination. Millions of child labourers have benefited from the Convention, but much remains to be done. The ILO’s member states have set the target for eliminating the Worst Forms of Child Labour by 2016. To achieve this goal requires a major scaling up of effort and commitment.

On the 2013 World Day Against Child Labour, the objective is to develop Legislative and policy reforms to ensure the elimination of child labour in domestic work and the provision of decent work conditions and appropriate protection to young workers in domestic work who have reached the legal working age. Action to build the worldwide movement against child labour and to build the capacity of domestic workers organizations to address child labour. A future without child labour is at last within reach. Significant progress is being made worldwide in combating child labour. The new global estimates of trends reinforce this message of hope. However, a strong and sustained global movement is needed to provide the extra push towards eliminating the scourge of child labour.