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Ghana: Teachers' union launches anti-child labour handbook

published 1 July 2011 updated 6 July 2011

The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) launched a handbook to prevent child labour in Ghana as part of the World Day Against Child Labour initiative. The book was launched on 29 June at the GNAT Hall in Accra, Ghana and featured speaker such as government officials and international union leaders.

The opening remarks were made by the Minister of Employment and Social Development Honorary E.T. Mensah, who discussed the government’s commitment to eliminating child labour through an action plan and parental accountability laws. He also added that the role of teachers was indispensable because “in their position they see a lot more about the child.”

The launch was chaired by Mr. Tom Badiako, who spoke about his mother’s experiences as a victim of debt bondage. He also noted that the handbook helps clear misunderstandings about child labour and will hopefully turn child labour prevention into a matter of social justice, not simply charity work.

The General Secretary of GNAT addressed the connection between education and child labour. She noted that eliminating child labour would help keep youth in school, saying, “When child labour thrives, education suffers.” Furthermore, she reminded the audience that eliminating child labour and promoting education are written in the Ghana Constitution and therefore a national responsibility.

Emanuel Fatoma, Senior Coordinator of Education International Region Africa, expressed that the handbook would facilitate an anti-child labour initiative with the International Labour Organisation/International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (ILO/IPEC). He observed that this handbook is also a success for education, as child labour draws children from schooling.

The ILO/IPEC representative praised Ghana’s youth for being involved in the manual’s launch and discussed ILO/IPEC’s goals for eliminating child labour. She described a global action plan to end child labour by 2015, but reiterated that it was crucial for governments to be committed to this goal as well.

Other remarks and praise were given by the Ghana Employer’s Association, the Ministry of Women and Children, and the Ghana Trade Union Congress.