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Spotlight on role of teacher unions in the eradication of child labour

Education International will represent teachers and stress their unions’ active role in ensuring quality education for all at the 4th Global Conference on Child Labour.

Education International will be actively raising teachers’ concerns and views at the United Nations’ 4th Global Conference on Child Labour, to be held from 14-16 November, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The conference will make recommendations to governments on successful initiatives to eradicate child labour. This is a key event for Education International (EI) to highlight its work on child labour, and the expertise of its affiliates will be highly valued there.

A delegation of teacher union representatives from eight countries will participate in the conference to showcase the area-based approach successfully implemented in Mali, Nicaragua, Uganda and Zimbabwe. It will also join the larger workers’ effort to lobby conference stakeholders (governments, employers, civil society organisations, donor community) to commit to an empowering Conference Pledge.

Importance of education

EI expects the Global Conference on Child Labour to further stress the importance of quality, public, free, inclusive and compulsory education for all children. A strong declaration would provide a good basis for teacher unions to be decisively supported in the field with other education stakeholders.

EI will have two panellists at the plenary sessions of the conference: Hillary Yuba from Zimbabwe will represent EI at the conference’s session on Education For All on 14 November, and Noemi Tejeda from CTERA (Argentina) will address the conference panel on youth employment on 15 November.

Educators’ commitment

Every day teachers, supported by their unions, act towards eradicating child labour from their communities. School leaders and teachers are trained, raise awareness among communities and religious leaders, engage with families about school attendance and drop-out rates, and bring about change in curricula and in pedagogy, so that children freed from child labour feel welcome and respected in the classroom.

EI’s advocacy on child labour is a key component of the global union federation’s strategy to keep governments accountable on delivering on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) on quality education and decent work. This explains why, at the last EI Congress in 2015, education unions’ delegates adopted a resolution on accelerated action against child labour in connection with the post-2015 SDGs.


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