Poverty Barrier

Child labor

In 2012, there were about 168 million child labourers in the world, of whom more than two thirds (120 million) were 5 to 14 years old. Worldwide, it is estimated that some 22,000 children are killed at work every year.

Why is child labor a barrier to enrollment and participation?

By definition, child labor interferes with the child’s right to education, as well as risking a child’s health, safety and development.

How pervasive is it?

In 2012, there were about 168 million child laborers in the world, of whom more than two thirds (120 million) were 5 to 14 years old. Worldwide, it is estimated that some 22,000 children are killed at work every year. The numbers of those injured or made ill because of work is in the millions. In the 5-14 age group, almost 40 million children were working in hazardous situations in 2012.  10% of all sub-Saharan African children were involved in hazardous child labor in 2012.

MAPLECROFT’s Child Labor Index map 2014 (Source)

Examples of EAC partners who are addressing this barrier

BRAC is an EAC implementing partner in Bangladesh. Its non-formal education programs help contribute to efforts to eliminate child labor in Bangladesh and provide a second chance for boys and girls initially prevented from accessing primary education as a result of work responsibilities and other priorities. 

There are currently over 1.5 million children in non-formal education programs run by BRAC and other NGOs. For these children—who otherwise would have missed the opportunity for primary education—the non-formal primary education approach has made a significant contribution to extending opportunities for primary education and mitigating the effects of child labor. 

The BRAC primary school model has been adopted by at least 400 other NGOs, many supported through BRAC’s technical and financial support. Other NGOs that are not directly supported by BRAC, also have adopted variations of the BRAC model. BRAC’s primary education program offers a full equivalent of a formal five-year primary education in an accelerated program of four years, targeting children over the age of 8 years (those who have already passed the entry age for formal primary school).

Another EAC partner in Bangladesh, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, runs education and skills development programs in early learning, primary and basic education, empowering adolescent girls, adult literacy and continuing education.  Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) works with formal primary schools in helping Grade 1 and 2 children acquire reflective learning skills, and it provides remedial support to children with learning difficulties in Grades 3 to 5.

Dhaka Ahsania Mission runs a non-formal primary education program in urban metropolitan areas aimed at reintegrating children aged 8-13 years who were engaged in hazardous work. It also provides courses for Grades 1 to 3 with flexible hours on a daily basis for a year or more.

Further reading

  • Yacouba Diallo, Alex Etienne and Farhad Mehran, 2013. Global child labour trends, 2008 to 2012. International Labour Organization 
  • Maplecroft is a leading global risk analytics, research and strategic forecasting company. It presents regular updates on Child labour worldwide. Its 2014 analysis is here.
  • International Labour Organization, 2008. Child Labour and Education in Bangladesh: Evidence and Policy Recommendations.