How education and academia can end child labour in 7 examples

Ending child labour can start with education

We’re highlighting some of the 2021 Action Pledges we’ve received. Get inspired by these short stories about how governments, UN agencies, NGOs, universities, organizations, tripartite partners, and many more are joining the global movement for children.

What is the connection between child labour and education?

Children that work cannot go to school. When they do attend, they struggle to balance the demands of school and child labour, which compromises both their education and their right to leisure. According to the latest Global Estimates, more than one third of children in child labour are excluded from school. This severely constrains their overall life potential.

Are there regional differences?

Yes. The gap in education exclusion rates between sub-Saharan Africa and other regions remains large. Although public spending on education in the region as a share of GDP has trended upwards, it remains below the world average. At the same time, there has been a net decline in children out of primary school in recent years in all regions.

What’s the role of universities and academia?

Universities and other academic institutions play a crucial role in the fight against child labour. They provide insights in the underlying reasons of child labour and inform policymakers and the general public on promising strategies against it. Further, these institutions have a unique knowledge base on national and regional patterns and help sensitizing the population on the issue. 

The diversity and global reach of the pledge-makers showcase that higher education institutions are stepping up their commitment and are willing to provide much-needed evidence-based solutions against child labour. 

Here’s what some of our pledge makers are doing:

Vietnam National University

Vietnam National University’s School of Law is in Hanoi.

Its 2021 Action Pledge aims to organize a conference on how to end child labour in Southeast Asia, as well as create new curricula to match that mission. The new material will be used in the university’s Master on Human Rights.

“We will contribute to the development and implementation of an ASEAN roadmap to end child labour, with time bound achievable milestones and suggested resource allocations.”

Throughout the year, the university will help governments in the region draft legislation and guidelines that promote public procurement as an instrument to fight child labour. 

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Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Labour is a government institution.

Its 2021 Action Pledge aims to support and protect children through a series of collaborative sensitization and institutional strengthening activities, including: developing a six-step model for the labour inspectorate, establishing a Child Labour Protocol, developing sector-specific hazardous work lists, and more.

“The collaboration with key government and non-government agencies is aimed at providing the required information to educate persons of its existence with a view to preventing and eliminating child labour in Trinidad and Tobago.”

Throughout the year, the Ministry of Labour will work with the Ministry of Education, among other ministries and key partners, to better educate the public about the topic.

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The Institute of Social Opportunity

The Institute of Social Opportunity is a training institution in Brazil.

Its 2021 Action Pledge aims to communicate and disseminate information on the need to eradicate child labour in Brazil and worldwide to all current partners. 

“The target audience is our partners, employees and students. The purpose is to help to reduce misinformation about child labour. We will use communication tools and channels of dialogue with these audiences.”

Throughout the year, the Institute will organize lectures on human rights and child labour, disseminate a booklet with relevant information during classes, conduct research to identify the public level of knowledge on the topic, and more.

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University of Algarve

The University of Algarve’s Faculty of Sciences and Technologies is in Portugal.

Its 2021 Action Pledge aims to mobilize regional partners to address the problem of child labour in Algarve by becoming an Alliance 8.7 partner and joining the Child Labour Platform.

“The objective is to reduce the school drop-out of secondary school children. The Algarve region in the south of Portugal has the highest national dropout rates (21.6%) in the country.”

Throughout the year, the university will design a dissemination strategy using social media to promote the #endchildlabor2021 initiative, as well as publish articles in regional and national media to raise awareness about the problem. 

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University of Prishtina

The University of Prishtina is in Kosovo.

Its 2021 Action Pledge aims to prepare future teachers and education professionals to identify and support children involved in child labour.

“The courses will prepare students, teachers, and general education professionals to identify the signs and symptoms of child maltreatment, including child labour.”

Throughout the year, the university will become involved in the rehabilitation and reintegration of children as part of a group of stakeholders that support at-risk children.

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Fiji National University 

The Fiji National University is in Suva.

Its 2021 Action Pledge aims to protect children’s rights and help eliminate child labour through a Child Labour Statement.

“FNU’s Child Labour Statement will ensure that companies contracted by the university undertake not to employ any child unless on an approved industrial attachment with appropriate supervision.”

Throughout the year, the university will seek to learn the best practices of preventing child labour in procurement.

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Journal of Modern Slavery 

The Journal of Modern Slavery is an academic journal based in the United States.

Its 2021 Action Pledge aims to publish a journal issue focused on child labour, and communicate about it through a podcast episode and a journal issue launch webinar. 

“We believe that the key to ending child labour is doing quality research and getting that highest quality, evidence-based research and knowledge to frontline providers, policymakers, and the general public.”

Throughout the year, the Journal will gather papers that recognise the complexity and multi-dimensionality of tackling child labour. Its goal is to solve the problems of lack of and access to evidence-based research and best practices.

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