Ending Child Labor – Policies and Programs


child labor and education

Child labor is an unfortunate but common fact of life in many developing countries where families are unable to provide a decent life for their young. The poor standard of living, lack of education and protection against harsh working conditions and natural disasters are just some of the threats that can be faced by children who work. However, by taking immediate action, child labor can be prevented by governments at all levels. It is vital to raise awareness about the adverse effects of child labor and education on the workforce.

Practice Of Child Labor

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Children as young as six years old are trapped in the dangerous world of child labor in the informal sectors of the economy. They are often used as manual laborers or in the construction industry. In some cases, children as young as four or five years old are recruited as babysitters in urban areas. These children are trapped in a life-threatening situation where they cannot decide what is best for them and are forced to work long hours under dangerous conditions. The worst forms of child labor include child prostitution, child begging, child collecting and child labor on farms and plantations.

The practice of child labor in the developing countries is a very serious problem. The root causes include poverty, lack of educational attainment, poor health care and lack of job opportunities. The promotion of educational attainment, job creation and development and reduction in poverty is the key to improving the situation. A high percentage of child labor is caused by poverty and the absence of access to educational institutions in rural areas. A commitment to the rights of children working in the informal sector should be included in the agendas of national and international organizations dedicated to the improvement of the working conditions for children in the informal sector.

How Does A Country Reduce The Negative Impact Of Child Labor On Its Citizens?

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First, it must address the poverty and lack of educational attainment, which is the root cause of child labor. A decrease in poverty and increase in educational achievement can go a long way in preventing and reducing child labor. A two-fold approach is recommended – one addressing the poverty problem and the other the availability of quality educational institutions. Combining these two policy instruments will provide a more effective means of combating child labor.

Policies that address poverty can have a dual policy impact. Income-based policies can either increase employment opportunities or improve the overall living standards of child laborers. Policies that affect income effects can also have a positive income effect. Health-care coverage for child laborers can either reduce the number of sick days they miss or improve their overall health status. A combination of income, health status and schooling strategies can yield the best results.

Availability Of Good Schooling Facilities

The availability of good schooling facilities can have a positive income effect. Not all countries are able to afford comprehensive schooling. If the poor quality of schooling is inadequately funded, children may remain uninsured and thus remain exposed to the risks of child labor. A higher quality school can reduce the number of sick days missed by its inhabitants and thus improve their overall health status. A higher employment rate can increase the number of hours worked per day by child labor and thereby reduce the time cost of schooling for these workers.

A successful program must take into account both the causes and effects of child labor. Though poverty is by far the largest drivers of child labor worldwide, it is not the only cause and effect. A more comprehensive program that addresses both domestic labor conditions and education issues in rural areas can more effectively tackle child labor problems.

Final Thoughts

Ending child labor is a multifaceted matter. Many of the issues cited above are examples of how a comprehensive program that addresses domestic labor issues as well as educational issues in rural areas can reduce child labor. A better understanding of the drivers of child labor and the most efficient methods to combat these negative consequences can go a long way towards ending this negative phenomenon.

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