There is a viscous relationship between poverty, lack of education, and child labour. This short essay highlights the importance of education in eradicating the evil of child labour.
Poverty and education, and some proposed solutions:
1) The parents may not have had an education themselves and may not understand its importance, rather believing that earning for survival is more important
2) Lack of access to good healthcare and good hygiene practices can lead to frequent sickness and missing of school
2.a) Community programs to help educate people about the importance of hygiene; educating girls about menstruation and providing free sanitary products to decrease their absence from schools
3) Educated girls are more likely to pursue careers before marriage, have fewer children, and teach an entire generation good lifestyle practices
4) Lack of infrastructure in poorer areas
4.a) Investment in these areas, to not only help them establish better schools, but also lead to their economic development in order to attract more investors, better teachers, and better employment
4.b) Better infrastructure to train and motivate teachers from within the local communities.
5) 19 percent of child labour victims live in low-income countries
6)Children upto 15 years of age who worked are more likely to end up in low-paying jobs
6.a) Thus perpetuating a cycle of poverty for the next generation of children as well
Developing education infrastructure is beneficial in two major ways: it equips people with skills for better judgement, to recognise deception in the face of desperation, and allows them more ways out of poverty by increasing their employability. This takes the burden off of their children to engage in life threatening work to support their families, and decreases their vulnerability to being forced into hazardous labour.
Access to education is not only important post-rescue, but also an important factor to address in order to tackle the issue of child labour at its root. Education does not only mean literacy. A well-rounded education includes life saving and life enhancing skills, development of independent thinking, access to better opportunities, and the ability to function as productive members of society who can participate economically and politically.
Child trafficking (for any purpose) being such a heinous act, it is not wrong to believe that the most important aspect is the rescue of children from situations of exploitation (whether through labour or sexual). However, there is a lack of dialogue around the rehabilitation of these children. Our duty as a society does not end at liberating the children and releasing them back into the custody of their parents. That is essentially releasing them back into the circumstances which led to their exploitation in the first place. It is necessary that these children (and to an extent their families) are equipped with the tools to overcome their vulnerable positions. One of the factors that will play an important role in determining a better present and future for children (as well as their future generations) is education.
BBA Child Labour Handbook