What teachers' organizations can do in the fight to eliminate child labour

Below is a list of specific actions that teachers’ organizations might take in order to reinforce their own position and that of their members in the classroom and in education policy reform and programme development to improve the quality of education and to help prevent and eliminate child labour. Some of the actions are normal activities for workers’ organizations, such as defending and improving their members’ working conditions, but these are important in strengthening the position of teachers in the classroom and the wider education sector.

Teachers’ organizations could:

  • seek to improve the working conditions of their members by negotiating for better wages, reasonable working hours and appropriate teacher-pupil ratios, so that excessive demands are not imposed on overworked teachers which deter them from being effective instructors, facilitators and classroom managers;
  • work along with governments in developing and promoting teacher ethics, codes of conduct, recruitment and work criteria;
  • participate in the efforts to improve the education of teachers such as curriculum reform for teacher training (pre-service and in-service) and to promote more participatory approaches to adult education within teacher education and training programmes;
  • suggest and advocate more up-to-date and effective teaching methods and techniques, promoting successful and innovative practices implemented at field level by their members and that can be shared with other teachers;
  • encourage the exchange of information and experience through effective use of the printed media or electronic means to broaden the knowledge base and enhance the skills of teachers as developing professionals;
  • reach out to teachers working in rural areas and in non-formal education programmes to involve them in teachers’ organizations and provide services for their benefit;
  • extend organizational membership and protection to educators working in the non-formal education sector, and facilitate the training and qualification of educators;
  • initiate and conduct campaigns against child labour by coordinating action with members at local, national and international levels (through Education International and the World Confederation of Teachers);
  • build up or strengthen teachers’ networks and forge alliances with other trade unions, child-focused or social development organizations and networks at local, national and international levels;
  • engage in constructive, critical and open dialogue with governments to advocate for policy reform, programme development and implementation to expand access to and improve the quality of educational programmes to prevent and eliminate child labour.

IPEC continues to work closely with Education International and the World Confederation of Teachers whose aims include:

  • defending the professional and industrial rights of teachers and education personnel;
  • promoting for all peoples in all nations peace, democracy, social justice and equality through the development of quality public education for all;
  • combating all forms of racism and discrimination in education and society;
  • giving particular attention to developing the leadership role and involvement of women in society, in the teaching profession and in organizations of teachers and education employees;
  • ensuring the rights of the most vulnerable groups such as indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, migrants and children. EI’s and WCT’s work to end child labour is a key aspect of their human rights campaigns.
  • For more information, please visit the websites for Education International (EI) and World Confederation of Teachers