Child labour remains a human rights scourge more than a decade into the 21st century, affecting 168 million children worldwide by the best estimates. It denies millions of children their basic rights to education and childhood, permanently scarring their lives and their future as productive adults and citizens, those of their families, their communities and countries. It is a major contributor to human poverty and misery, undermining decent work for all.
There is a solution: education and training for every single child, everywhere in the world, up to the minimum age for employment recognised in the labour standards of the International Labour Organisation.
Teachers and education support personnel are at the heart of any successful strategy to guarantee the right to education for every child and eliminate child labour: by their presence making sure that children have access to quality education every day; looking out for their welfare and for a child-centred education system in which parents value and child learners enjoy education enough to stay in school; identifying vulnerable children and those at risk of dropping out; meeting with parents, and community leaders to signal problem cases and insist on solutions before it is too late; working with government and non-governmental childhood services to prevent children from slipping into the child labour sinkhole, and helping those who do so to escape. Teachers and their unions are on the front lines of the struggle to eradicate the disease. That is the why of this manual.