June 2009 -- This year marks the tenth anniversary of the adoption of
the landmark ILO Convention No. 182, which addresses the need for
action to tackle the worst forms of child labour. Whilst celebrating
progress made during the past ten years, the World Day will highlight
the continuing challenges, with a focus on exploitation of girls in
The ILO has estimated that some 165 million
children between the ages of 5 and 14 are involved in child labour.
Many of these children work long hours, often in dangerous conditions.
Child labour is closely associated with poverty. Many poor families are
unable to afford school fees or other school costs. The family may
depend on the contribution that a working child makes to the
household’s income, and place more importance on that than on
education. And when a family has to make a choice between sending
either a boy or girl to school, it is often the girl who loses out.
A key indicator to track is the percentage of girls that complete their primary education. See the progress made by 5 countries from 1991 to 2004 >>
More than ever today, children need a good quality education and
training if they are to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in the
labour market. However, in many countries the schools which are
accessible to the poor families are under-resourced and inadequate.
Poor facilities, over-sized classes, and lack of trained teachers lead
to low standards of education.
In the Millennium Development
Goals the United Nations and the broader international community set
targets of ensuring that by 2015 all boys and girls complete a full
course of primary education and that there is gender parity in
education. These targets cannot be met unless the factors that generate
child labour and prevent poor families from sending children to school
are addressed. Among the most important steps required are:
- provision of free and compulsory education;
- tackling barriers to girls education;
- ensuring that children have access to a school and a safe and quality learning environment;
- providing catch up education opportunities for children and youth who have so far missed out on formal schooling;
- tackling the worldwide shortage of teachers and ensuring a properly trained and professional teaching force;
- enforcing laws on child labour and education in line with international standards;
- tackling poverty, and creating decent work for adults;
- raising public awareness to tackle child labour.
Source: International Labour Organization (ILO)
Selected learning materials
Employers' Handbook on Child Labour
handbook is a reference manual for employers and their organisations to
implement policies and programs in accordance with the ILO.
Fields of Hope: Educational Activities on Child Labor. Teacher's Guide
guide includes eight lessons intended for ages 12-15. The lessons are
intended to enhance students' knowledge and understanding of child
labor issues internationally.
"How to Protect Human Rights?" Lesson Plan: Children's Rights in the UN System of Human Rights Protection (Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland)
Study Guide on the Rights of Children & Youth
Teaching for Human Rights: Grades 5-10
International treaties on child labour and the right to education:
- Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)
- Simplified version of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
- ILO Convention (No. 138) concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment (1973)
- ILO Convention (No. 182) concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor (1999)
ILO website on Child Labour
ILO Report "The end of child labour: Within reach" (May 2006)
Human Rights Watch World Report 2002-Children's Rights
Child Rights Information Network (CRIN) - Child Labour