A Society without Child Labor is Possible!

Illiteracy and inaccessibility to education gives birth to an army of child labourers that in turn perpetuates poverty and underdevelopment. Education levels have an inverse relationship with the incidence of child labour. States that are ahead in literacy levels have lower incidence of child labour. If all the children in the age group of 6 to 14 have access to schools, this will not only ensure compulsory education for all but also will be an effective instrument to eliminate child labour. Compulsory primary education not only puts an end to economic exploitation of working children, it also replaces the child labourer with an adult labourer and thus contributes to the solution of the problem of underemployment and enhancing the purchase power of the family, thereby uplifting their standard of living.

Child Labour as a Barrier to India’s Development

Child labour inhibits the productive potential of a country’s citizens by interfering with education, damaging health and skills development and affecting attitudes Higher human capital yields higher adult labour income. A child that supplies more labour and receives less education will have less human capital. In turn, he/she will be poorer as an adult and thereby perpetuate a cycle of poverty.

Education as the Cornerstone of India’s Development

A better educated child has greater opportunities to earn a higher income later in life, therefore decreasing poverty, increasing political participation, maintaining better health and increasing life expectancy. Education provides avenues away from impoverished futures.

Education affects the livelihood and wellbeing of community and entire nation: improving overall health and wellbeing, preventing the spread of HIV/Aids and laying the foundation for a flourishing, peaceful and stable democracy. Education enhances the skills and productivity of citizens and creates new opportunities for innovations and technological advancement, leading to economic growth.

Education is the panacea for all the social evils of a society. Apart from empowering the weaker sections, it facilitates decentralization and democratization bringing about transparency and participation in governance; it has the ability to check economic exploitation by enhancing bargaining power of the working class, and attaining gender equity and social justice. This is one of the effective means to end child labour and to ensure the child rights.

Education –

Better health and nutrition
Longer life expectancy
Poverty eradication

Call for Action

To improve the status of education in India, a well-planned system should be implemented as followed:

Budget enhancement: The appalling state of education in India, which is reflected in dearth of infrastructural deficiencies and high dropouts at the elementary level, can only be addressed by first enhancing the budgetary allocations for education. 

Accountability of government departments: Government machinery should be made accountable and held responsible for any discrepancy or inconsistency in the implementation of plans and programmes related to education. Such answerability should be fixed at the blob, district, state as well as the national levels.

Proper monitoring mechanisms: In addition to the adequate budgetary allocations, it is also necessary to keep a vigilant eye on the implementation of the plans as well as the expenditure on the educational facilities and activities. Vigilance committees at the district and state levels should be formed.

People’s participation: Such monitoring mechanism should have ample representation from the various strata of the society. Additionally, the strategies, plans and activities must also be devised in a participatory manner.

National Level commission: National commission for education in regards of National Human Rights Commission should be established with prominent representation from jurists, academics and civil society organizations. This Commission should have the autonomy and the authority to reinstate the right to education.

Community Awareness: All the aforesaid measures will bear fruits when the local community and the masses have the cognizance and awareness about the importance of education and the harm that of the lack of education could lead to.

Confidence Building Measures (CBMs): The Government should take some immediate steps to restore / gain confidence of the masses. School infrastructure, ample number of teachers and interface with people are such initial measures that can generate favorable responses and cooperation in the implementation of long term plans.