Resolution on: Continued Action Against Child Labour by Fighting School Dropout and Working Towards Quality Inclusive Education for All

published 25 September 2019 updated 25 September 2019

The 8th World Congress of Education International (EI), meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, from 21 to 26 July 2019:


(1) The EI Resolution on Child Labour adopted by the Congress in 2015;

(2) The fundamental rights of children, notably the right to education, and the fundamental rights for adults, among which the right to decent work;


(3) The progress made towards Education for All as stated in the Global Education Monitoring Reports;

(4) The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals by 193 UN Member States in September 2015, which include important goals on education (4) and on child labour (8.7);

(5) The progress made in reducing child labour, as stated in the ILO Global Estimates on child labour, Results and Trends, 2012-2016, Geneva 2017;

(6) The fact that the ILO 2016 Global Estimates address for the first time the relationship between education and child labour;

(7) The Buenos Aires Declaration (2017) adopted in November 2017 by representatives from governments, employers’ and workers’ organisations, international and regional organisations and civil society organisations from more than 100 countries, reaffirming the key role that employers’ and workers’ organisations and social dialogue must play in the eradication of child labour and forced labour and in promoting decent work for all, in particular for women and young people;

(8) The results of the 2018/2019 EI/AOb research on the impact of the work of education unions against school dropout and child labour, showing clearly positive and sustainable outcomes, not only for children and their families, but also for teachers in the field of professional development and for education unions, experiencing increasing membership and improving status and visibility as result of their involvement;

(9) The persistent work of education unions on quality publicly financed education and inclusion of all children, including their role in new initiatives, often in cooperation with other civil society organisations, that show positive outcomes, especially on girl’s education and the reduction of early marriages and pregnancies;

Notes however

(10) That both progress in reaching SDG4 on quality inclusive education for all as well as the reduction of child labour are slow; the latter even having significantly slowed down more during the last years;

(11) That most donor governments are still not contributing financially to education in development cooperation;

(12) That domestic investment in education in many countries is still very low;

(13) That many governments still do not enforce existing laws, (international) conventions or regulations on education and child labour nor apply adequate sanctions to those who break them;

(14) That (forced) migration, conflicts and natural disasters still keep children out of school and push them into child labour;

(15) That ongoing privatisation and commercialisation of education undermine access to and quality of education;

Also notes

(16) Tendencies in several parts of the world to defend, accept and/or legalise child labour, and to organise children in trade unions;

(17) Lack of understanding and/or clarity on what is child labour (as defined by the ILO) as well as confusion on terminology related to child labour ( “child labour”; “worst forms of child labour”; “hazardous forms of child labour”; “children’s work”; “light work”; “age-appropriate work”);


(18) That quality inclusive education for all is key to eradicating child labour and that education unions are in a position to play a crucial role in the accomplishment of this goal.

Congress determines that Education International shall

(19) Continue the work on addressing school dropout and child labour from the perspective of education;

(20) Further cooperate with ILO and to participate in future Global Conferences on Child Labour;

(21) Further cooperate with relevant stakeholders and seek new partnerships;

(22) Continue to seek funding to support education unions in their fight for quality inclusive education and against child labour;

(23) Facilitate the exchange of relevant practices and successes between unions and their partners;

(24) Continue to promote, and step up where possible, programmes focusing on the area-based approach/child labour free zones;

(25) Contribute to a better understanding of what is child labour and what is not.

Congress calls on member organisations to

(26) Continue to advocate for quality public and inclusive education as the best way to eradicate child labour;

(27) Contribute to a better understanding of what is child labour and what is not;

(28) Seek cooperation with other education unions, sectoral unions and civil society like-minded organisations, nationally and internationally, to advocate for implementation and real enforcement of national legislation and international conventions on child labour and to support projects or initiatives against child labour;

(29) Encourage and implement South-South exchange where education unions provide guidance, expertise and mentoring to others, share relevant practices from the classroom up to unions actions;

(30) Join networks and lobby groups to put pressure on employers and companies which continue to employ children, depriving them of their fundamental rights.