Education can put a Stop to Child Labour

June 12, 2022

By Anshuman Magazine


"Every child matters. If we fail our children, we are bound to fail our present, our future, faith, cultures, and civilisations as well." - Kailash Satyarthi

Children are the future—they must rightfully spend their childhood in schools and not at workplaces engaged in manual labour. The fact that 1 out of every 7 children in the world today is a child labourer is unfortunate and alarming. Child labour is a scourge that is predominantly concentrated in agriculture and the informal economy. Under despondent socio-economic conditions, children are often left with no escape but to work at the expense of their education, losing out on the opportunity of a happy and healthy childhood.

Access to quality education allows children to know their rights in society, break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, and secure the skill and knowledge necessary to earn a decent livelihood. To achieve goal 8.7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, ‘ending all forms of child labour by 2025’, we must make conscious efforts to make tenacious use of the most effective tool in our arsenal, i.e., education.

Education is the most effective strategy that contributes to alleviating child labour. Even social justice pioneers have supported that access to quality education is the most significant step towards abolishing child labour.

To address the issue of child labour and other forms of exploitation of children, an integrated approach is required that strengthens the child protection system and addresses poverty. Quality education for all, enhancement of social protection, collective efforts to reduce poverty and political and social commitments are few such approaches. Besides strengthening access to primary education for all children, they must also attain core work skills. They should be provided with broad-based education with transferable skills including numeracy, learning ability, and social and interpersonal skills. Giving children access to skill training will allow them to pursue their paths of interest, giving them the choice and helping them break the vicious cycle of low productivity and low income.

The onus of eradicating child labour also falls on corporate leaders. As powerful agents of change, we can lead, implement, and inspire holistic approaches to bring about a conscious change and integrate child rights into business operations in a multi-faceted manner.

A step-by-step approach to adopting zero-tolerance policies and supporting employees with gender-sensitive and family-friendly policies form the crux of contribution to the reform. A key element to reinforcing companies’ commitment to the cause is vetting their supply chains and holding suppliers accountable for employing a legally eligible workforce. In addition to this, organizations can also commission audits to ensure the implementation of best practices and assert ESG commitments. Other than developing their own policies, companies can support and abide by government initiatives in this direction by engaging their employees in the corporate code of conduct dialogue through training.  

We at CBRE are committed to making a positive impact on society. This World Day against Child Labor, we are taking a small step in association with Plan India towards eradicating child labor by giving them the gift of education through our Ek Pehal initiative, a small beginning to improving the lives of those with the greatest needs. It’s time we come together for the health, education, and well-being of these children and make a difference in the world.