Welcoming the establishment of Global Task Force on child labor and
education Mr. Kailash Satyarthi termed it as one of the most promising
developments towards addressing the inter-linkages around poverty, education
and child labor. The Global Task Force on Child Labour and Education which
was launched during the Beijing Round Table in November 2005 with the
fullest blessings and support of UNESCO's leadership was termed by him as a
demonstration of collective will of inter-governmental agencies and global
civil society, to fight illiteracy and child labour simultaneously.
Mr. Satyarthi was the keynote speaker in the EFA working group Session on
Reaching the EFA Goals: Overcoming Child Labour to achieve EFA hosted by
UNESCO in Paris during July 19-21, Working Group meeting.
He congratulated the UNESCO Director General Mr Matsuura and ADG Mr. Peter
Smith for their consideration of including a full session dedicated in the
all important EFA Working Group meeting in Paris on July 19th, 2006. He said
that, "Education is not an individual but an inter-sectoral issue. Education
for All, is one of the four critical, closely interrelated processes
affecting the future of our world, especially our children. The others are
poverty, child labour and insecurity."
He said that education is no longer a power tool in the hands of few, but it
is freedom, liberty, development, life and future for millions who are
trapped in servitude, trafficking, forced beggary, domestic labour,
prostitution and child soldiers. Free quality education for all is the key
to social justice, equity, protection of childhood and combating poverty.
The Task Force is a partnership to mobilise political will and momentum
towards mainstreaming the issue of child labour in national and
international policy frameworks contributing to the EFA objectives and
MDG's . The task force is to be viewed essentially as helping build an
enabling environment for countries that aim to achieve EFA and child labour
He announced the launch of the two activities being launched by the Task
Force as the joint initiatives. First a comprehensive and integrated
programme on Child Domestic Labour and education to liberate millions of
child domestic laborers will be launched. Secondly it proposes to work for
integration of child labour first and foremost in the PRSP source book which
is the guiding tool for the countries to design their strategies. PRSP
source book now in its current form pays little explicit attention to child
The other speakers in the session were Secretaries of Education from Morocco
and Turkey who explained the special programmes launched by them to
eliminate child laborers with the support of the Ministries of Education,
Labor and Social Security.
Other Speakers included Government of Jordan which shared the progress in
school attendance in his country with the launch of social support policy
that includes school nutrition programme rescuing thousands of children from
work. The Government of Indonesia informed that they have around 2.4
million child laborers and asked the support of the international community
to deal with the problem.
Making an important intervention the Government of Brazil informed the
participants that Brazilian Government has accepted the invitation to be a
member of the Global Task Force on child labor and education. They also
informed that Government of Brazil has given financial support to ILO-IPEC
for South-South exchange programme to carry forward the success achieved in
Brazil for learning, dissemination and experimental launch in select
countries. The Brazilian Government welcomed the launch of the Task Force
but reminded that it is important that the GTF coordinates with EFA
Secretariat to assess country by country the need for practical methods to
address child laborers special needs and facilitate financial and technical
assistance to the most needy countries that face serious challenge in
meeting their obligations towards achieving education for all. He said that
FTI Secretariat is also required to take specific steps in this direction.
Government of India informed the participants that it has launched the
largest programme launched anywhere in the world to provide mid day meals to
the children in the schools to attract and improve school attendance.
Important interventions were made from the Secretary, Government of
Bangladesh about the programmes launched for girls and cash incentives
offered to them as a modest compensation from loss of work.
The representative of the African Union mentioned that countries like
Ethiopia need special programmes to compensate the loss of work for the
families if the children have to attend full time schools.
The representative from ANCEFA, a large African NGO spoke on the need for
special financial and technical support to the African Countries in
combating child labor if the EFA goals have to be realized by 2015.
Government of Mexico informed about the cash transfer, el becas— which
entitles money for the parents of children who attend school and was
successful. The cash incentive progressively increases when the child
continues to join secondary schooling. He informed that cash transfer
programme is efficient-in keeping girls at schools. It has diminished child
labor. However he cautioned that cash transfer does not improve the
achievement of children and identified the need to further explore on this
The Secretary, Education, Government of Kenya said that the cause of child
labor is poverty and in addition the expenses of attending school are high.
In some communities, children's income is critical. For children to attend
school, we have to taken several measures…as a government considers child
labor is a challenge, we have enhanced school feeding programs. He informed
that Kenya requires special assistance to take further steps in ensuring
child laborers can attend full time schools. This requires strong
partnership with the international community.
The representative of the Government of Nigeria cautioned that approaches
like addressing child labor separately within the EFA can risk attention to
close to 11 million children that are out of schools in Nigeria, amongst
which not all are child laborers. She cautioned that it is important to
focus on PRSP's and to see the core reasons for the prevalence of child
labor and its link to the macro economic policies pursued by the IMF and
World Bank that has forced the countries to structural adjustments impacting
negatively on social sector programmes. She also cautioned that the debt
servicing by the poor countries to the international financial institutions
takes a heavy toll on their resources. There is a urgent need to have a
wider perspective to the prescriptions that are affecting the fiscal
management of several countries like Nigeria.
The representative of Sweden wanted to know the time frame of the GTF and if
the functions of the GTF are research, advocacy. Mr. Kari Tapiola, Deputy
Director General, ILO informed that the time frame of the GTF is until 2015
and that the Secretariat of the GTF is located at ILO, Geneva and it will be
rotating every three years between various UN agencies. He also said that
the agenda of the GTF is research, advocacy and facilitating support to
specific countries on demand.