More than 70 million children in the world lack access to basic education. With no educational alternatives, many children end up working prematurely. In this section, we examine the links between educational access and child labor.

CHILD LABOR COALITION PRESS RELEASE: Child Labor Coalition decries shooting of 14-year-old education activist Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan


For immediate release: October 12, 2012
Contact: Reid Maki, (202) 207-2820, reidm@nclnet.org

Washington, DC—The 28 members of the Child Labor Coalition (CLC) today expressed their condemnation of the shooting attack on 14-year-old education activist Malala Yousafzai by Taliban forces on October 9 in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. Malala dared to be an advocate for the education of girls, a stance that made her a target for Taliban extremists who shot her twice—in the head and the neck. She clung to life as the world celebrated the first United Nations International Day of the Girl Child on October 11.

“The idea that the Taliban would viciously attack a teenage girl to threaten other girls seeking an education is deplorable,” said American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson, a CLC co-chair. “The AFT condemns this cowardly act in the strongest of terms and applauds the people of Pakistan for rising up to proclaim that such barbarity is unacceptable in their country or anywhere in the world. The right to education is fundamental, and we stand with Malala and all those around the world who are working with us to make sure all children have equal access to high-quality public education.”

Malala’s advocacy began at age 11, when she blogged about Taliban atrocities in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. She soon began blogging about the closing of schools for girls, which were a result of ultraconservative views toward women’s roles in Pakistani society. According to published reports, she felt forced to hide her school books and feared for her life, knowing that her advocacy might make her a target of the Taliban. At age 11 she said, “All I want is an education. And I am afraid of no one.”

“Education is power, especially for girls. Malala knows this and has used her voice to advocate for others,” said Lily Eskelsen, Vice President of the National Education Association, a CLC member. “The Taliban underestimated Malala from the beginning, but her power has already been unleashed. They cannot call it back. An educated girl becomes an informed woman, able to make the best choices for her own well-being and that of her family; generations are impacted. As we mark the International Day of the Girl Child, Malala speaks to all of us to take action on our responsibility to see that girls’ human rights are respected.”

“Malala’s heroism and advocacy for girls inspires us all,” said CLC Co-Chair Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League. “Access to education is one of the keys to reducing child labor—that’s what Malala is fighting for and that’s why her work has been so important. According to the International Labor Organization’s latest statistics, the number of girls in child labor worldwide fell between 2004 and 2008 from 103 million to 88 million. We need to keep that progress up. We need to keep Malala’s vision alive and provide girls with unfettered access to education.”

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Nigeria: Millions Lack Schooling

`Nigeria has the highest number of children out of school’
By Ayo Okulaja [article from Next.com]

[Originally published September 22, 2010 01:43PM

In ranking Nigeria amongst the worst place for a child to be in 2010, a report by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) has stated that Nigeria has more children out of education than any other country in the world.
The report claims that an astounding 8.2 million children are not provided with adequate education in Africa’s most populous country. Comparing the nation’s wealth with the apparent low standard of education, the report claims that “the report is made all the more appalling by the fact that Nigeria is far from poor, by African standards. On paper at least it is among the continent’s richest countries, the world’s sixth largest producer of crude oil. But decades of failure to invest in education have left the basic school system hardly functioning, especially in the country’s impoverished north.”
For Primary education, the report claims many students drop out of the school in their first year of education due to `unequal provision of education’ and this it argued, is caused by the lack of political will to address and arrest the issue. “A lack of political will is a major factor in the country having the highest number of children out of school in the world. Gross inequality in the provision of education has led to 8.2 million children out of primary school with many more dropping out within the first year.”
Poor attendance, imbalanced education
The report particularly criticised the northern region of the country for an abysmal amount of children denied good education. “Over half of these children are in the north of the country, with girls suffering the most with many receiving just six months of education in their lives. In the largely Muslim north of Nigeria……….attendance rates are below 50% at primary school and of those only one in every three pupils is female (nationwide, the proportion is five boys to four girls)” it noted.

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Gartner: Achieving the Millennium Development Goals: Education is Key

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals: Education is the Key Missing Link

David Gartner, Co-Director, Center for Universal Education

The Brookings Institution

July 30, 2010 —

President Obama is releasing a plan for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 in advance of the largest gathering of world leaders in at least a decade at the United Nations. While the Administration’s outline includes useful ideas on tracking development outcomes and increasing transparency and accountability, it also represents a missed opportunity to deliver on Obama’s commitment to invest $2 billion in a Global Fund for Education to achieve universal primary education. For most of the MDGs, particularly those that are most off-track, success will be nearly impossible without the achievement of universal primary education, MDG 2. With 72 million children still not in primary school, achieving universal education would offer extraordinary leverage in the broader fight against global poverty.

While there is some progress in poverty reduction for MDG 1: “Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger,” there is much less progress on the commitment to halve the number of people suffering from hunger by 2015.  Child malnutrition is a key dimension of world hunger and 137 million children under the age of 5 are still underweight globally. Educating women is an important tool for reducing child hunger, according to a cross-country analysis of 63 countries. The study found that educational gains in women’s education accounted for 43 percent of all progress in reducing child malnutrition.

MDG 3: “Eliminate gender disparity,” commits to closing the gender gap in all education levels and increasing female representation in the wage employment and national parliaments.

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Brazil’s Bolsa Família How to get children out of jobs and into school The limits of Brazil’s much admired and emulated anti-poverty programme

ELDORADO, SÃO PAULO STATE

THREE generations of the Teixeira family live in three tiny rooms in Eldorado, one of the poorest favelas (slums) of Greater São Paulo, the largest city in the Americas. The matriarch of the family, Maria, has six children; her eldest daughter, Marina, has a toddler and a baby. Like many other households in the favela, the family has been plagued by domestic violence. But a few years ago, helped in part by Bolsa Família (family grant)—which pays mothers a small sum so long as their children stay in education and get medical check-ups—Maria took her children out of child labour and sent them to school.

The programme allows the children to miss about 15% of classes. But if a child gets caught missing more than that, payment is suspended for the whole family. The Teixeiras’ grant has been suspended and restarted several times as boy after boy skipped classes. And now the eldest, João, aged 16, is out earning a bit of money by cleaning cars or distributing leaflets, taking his younger brothers with him. Marina’s pregnancies have added to the pressure. She gets no money for her children because she lives with her mother and the family has reached Bolsa Família’s upper limit. After rallying for a while, the Teixeira family is sliding backwards, struggling more than it did a couple of years ago.

Their experience does not mean Bolsa Família has been a failure. On the contrary. By common consent the conditional cash-transfer programme (CCT) has been a stunning success and is wildly popular.… Read the rest