International Labour Organization (ILO) has drawn attention to child labour on the occasion of 12 June- World Day Against Child Labour since 2002. The theme of this year- “no to child labour, yes to quality education”- underlined that every child has the right to education.
The most recent global estimates released by the ILO suggest some 120 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are involved in child labour, with boys and girls in this age group almost equally affected. In the broader age group of all children aged 5-17, 168 million children are estimated to be in child labour. This persistence of child labour is rooted in poverty and lack of decent work for adults, lack of social protection, and a failure to ensure that all children are attending school through to the legal minimum age for admission to employment.
Given the latest data of child labour in Turkey, 292 thousand children between the ages of 6 and 14 are involved in child labour. Considering the age group between 6 and 17, 893 thousand children are estimated to be in child labour.
The World Day against Child Labour this year will focus particularly on the importance of quality education as a key step in tackling child labour. It is very timely to do so, as in 2015 the international community will be reviewing reasons for the failure to reach development targets on education and will be setting new goals and strategies.
Lacking adequate education and skills, as adults former child labourers are more likely to end up in poorly paid, insecure work or to be unemployed. In turn there is a high probability that their own children will end up in child labour. Breaking this cycle of disadvantage is a global challenge and education has a key role to play.
Free and compulsory education of good quality up to the minimum age for admission to employment is a key tool in ending child labour. Attendance at school removes children in part at least from the labour market and lays the basis for the acquisition of employable skills needed for future gainful employment. The global youth employment crisis and problems experienced by young people in making the school to work transition highlight the need for quality and relevant education which develops the skills necessary to succeed both in the labour market and in life generally.
ILO repeats the global call on the occasion of this year’s World Day Against Child Labour in Turkey:
- - 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 labour;
- - new efforts to ensure that national policies on child labour and education are consistent and effective;
- - policies that ensure access to quality education and investment in the teaching profession.