Nationl Meet on Child Labour and Right to Education

Posted on August 27, 2006


New Delhi, 26 Aug: A gamut of representatives of civil society organizations and networks drafted a resolution of demands today at the concluding session of the two-day ‘National Meet on Abolition of Child Labour and on Right to Education’.

Taking the process forward the group would meet the Power Minister S.K. Shinde and hand over the memorandum. It will also be sent to all the Members of Parliament, the Chief Ministers, and the Prime Minister,

On the second day of the National Meet, grassroots workers, social activists and academicians from 15 states of the country not only shared their experiences on the prevailing status of Child Labour and children’s education in their respective states but also evolved a common set of action plan for the next three months – till the beginning of the next Parliament Session.

Speaking on the occasion, Ashok Agarwal, Advocate, Supreme Court reminded those present that it is a very critical issue that has its own political ramifications. Hence the civil society has to make a concerted effort in mobilizing and pressuring the Government so that the policy makers understand the gravity of the issue. He further added that mass movement in Delhi has already been initiated with the organizing of camps for the children who were denied admission in MCD schools.

Reinforcing the need of a discussion on the issue in the Parliament, Rajan Mohanty, National Convener of Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL) emphasized that there is an urgent requirement to make sustainable efforts at Parliamentary Advocacy on this issue and at the same time strengthen the national campaign by including grassroots voices.

The five-point resolution, which was prepared under the guidelines of M.V. Foundation, Social Jurist and CACL demands, the Parliament of India must ensure that the Act on free and compulsory education is properly implemented at national level. It also opposes Central Government decision to enact a law on the basis of the ‘Model Bill’ at the state level. The resolution further demands that the Parliament recognizes 250 million children in 6-14 yeas age group and of 160 million children in 0-6 years age group as citizen of the country and takes up full responsibility of them.

Yet another demand is that Parliament should pass a law to put blanket ban on all forms of Child Labour.

Finally the resolution urges the Parliament to ensure that principles of equity and justice is reflected in every clause that is introduced for protection of children’s Right to Education in accordance with the Kothari Commission recommendations of the Common School System.

Pointing out the urgency of the need to build a mass movement around the issue, Enakshi Ganguly of Haq, Centre for Child Right said, “It is very unfortunate even after 20 years of drafting of the Bill we are stuck on the same arguments. We need to stop and think whether there is something lacking in our strategy that such a critical issue has not assumed the character of a National Movement”

Reinforcing the need of a discussion on the issue in the Parliament, Rajan Mohanty, National Convener of Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL) emphasized that there is an urgent requirement to make sustainable efforts at Parliamentary Advocacy on this issue and at the same time strengthen the national campaign by including grassroots voices.

Shramana Majumder 9818095049, 011-41600905 or Suraj Kumar at 9810085910


Source Social Jurist



My comments

I happned to attend the above mentioned national level meeting. I was listening to the Civil society representatives quite carefully……..a question that was being repetatively asked was “why the need for a common school system, absolute abolition of child labour and complete access to right to education have not taken the shape of a national movement.” Why it is so that a larege section of the society are actually not interested in taking up the cause.

It is a great inspiration to see the amount of mass campaigning being done for Right to Information, we need such large level of campaign for education as well. We need to involve all groups of people in it. It is commonly understood that lack of education is a problem only faced by rural India which is a myth. Delhi alone has around 6-7 lacs of children out of school. True India doesn’t lives in the City but the cities have a lot of migration which is why its important that steps are taken to ensure 100% education for children in the cities.

To my understanding its very important to involve the upper middle class urban youth in the campaign. People from this genre have a lot of resources, inclination but lack in direction. They can be oriented by the people behind the cause to become more proactive. The youth should be able to take positive action wherever they see a child of 6-14 not going to school and engaged in child labour.

Further, as being pointed by almost all participants in the meeting the thumbrule adopted by MV foundation, non opposition, we should follow that. We should seek support from all parties, entities, groups. To give an example social jurist along with CACL can have a representation in the upcoming Hutch Delhi Marathon. The event attracts a lot of attention we would be able to attract (a) media attention and (b) Middle and upper middle class’ attention to the cause through it.

To attract mass attention we must adhere to technology, internet, online discussion forums, online communities through Yahoo or Google groups. We must learn from Anna Hazare and others involved in RTI Campaign.

Education is the back bone of development we cannot compromise on it on any ground. No body should be allowed to contend that children have to work because otherwise there is no one to earn bread. Given a situation where the child is the only bread earner in a family the state has to provide the bread to the family and to the child…whatever it takes for the state to clear the child’s road to School. This being a fundamental right no other argument can stand. It’s time this message is spread like fire amongst each and every tax payer in this country. After all we pay an education cess to ensure education for all children. It is then the responsibility of the state to clear all obstacles.

Another point that came up in the meeting was that information and data, its collection and distribution amongst all levels of activists is extremely important for activism and campaign. A grass root level worker from Assam said its very difficult for them to attain information as to what decision is being taken in Center, what strategies and action plan are being adopted by bigger and more active NGOs.

The campaign is surely taking shape but a lot needs to be done and More and more volunteers are needed for it.

Please Join Social Jurist as a volunteer and contribute.