Education for all cannot be achieved while child labour exists
The international community's efforts to achieve Education For All (EFA) and the progressive elimination of child labour are inextricably linked. On the one hand, education is a key element in the prevention of child labour. Children with no access to quality education have little alternative but to enter the labour market, where they are often forced to work in dangerous and exploitative conditions. On the other hand, child labour is one of the main obstacles to EFA, since children who are working full time cannot go to school. In addition, the academic achievement of children who combine work and school often suffers. There is a strong tendency for these children to drop out of school and enter into full-time employment.
It is widely accepted by many organizations, including UNICEF, the World Bank, UNESCO and the G8 Education Task Force, that education - and in particular, free and compulsory education of good quality up to the minimum age of entering into employment as defined by ILO Convention 138 - is a key element in the prevention of child labour.
The ILO is promoting EFA in the context of its Decent Work campaign, not only as a meants to combat child labour, but also as part of its work to develop vocational and skills training, promote the status of teachers and uphold their individual rights and the rights of their organizations.
For the goal of universal primary education to be reached by 2015, governments will need not only to accelerate efforts to achieve EFA, but also to step up efforts to eliminate child labour. The prevention and elimination of child labour should be an integral part of education policy worldwide. The education sector has great potential to contribute to the elimination of child labour. The prevention and elimination of child labour should be an integral part of education policy development and reform worldwide.