New report on child albour and education

Child labour and education: progress, challenges and future directions

The global problems of child labour and out of school children come under renewed scrutiny during 2015 as the international community considers the emerging post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This review examines recent debates and developments in child labour and education to help identify a strategic focus for work post-2015.

The review begins by considering existing knowledge on the negative impact of child labour on education access and attainment. It also considers recent data and estimates on both child labour and education, where progress has been made, and the nature of remaining challenges. It briefly outlines the history of ILO work on child labour, in particular the organizations’ standard setting role and its longstanding concerns to ensure that child labour should not be a barrier to children’s access to education.

The review continues to explore the emerging post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals that set new targets for child labour elimination and universal education. Of strategic importance is the likely inclusion of a child labour target for the first time among the global development goals: A proposed target calls for an end to child labour by 2025. A proposed goal on education sets a target of 2030 to ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education. There is now therefore likely to be an explicit child labour target and a sequential and contingent relationship between the global educational and child labour targets – the education target will not be achieved if the child labour target is missed.

The final part of the review elaborates the need for a strategic focus in the ILO’s contribution to the global efforts on child labour and education post 2015. While the ILO is neither an education agency nor a major education player, its experience and mandate provides it with a unique role in the international effort to tackle child labour. The chapter identifies the need for a focus on three key areas which are strongly interconnected, intellectual leadership based on research and knowledge, targeted advocacy, and strengthening the role of the social partners.