Sri Lanka focuses on education to combat child labour

June 11, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will mark the World Day Against Child Labour this year on June 12 Thursday with activities to raise awareness about this year’s theme that education is the right response to child labour, the International Labour Organisation said. The ILO has estimated that some 165 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are involved in child labour.

“Many of these children work long hours, often in dangerous conditions,” it said. “Child labour is closely associated with poverty. Many poor families are unable to afford school fees or other school costs.”

It said the Asia-Pacific region is home to the largest number of working children in the world.

Families depend on the contribution that a working child makes to the household’s income, and place more importance on that than on education, it said.

“And when a family has to make a choice between sending either a boy or girl to school, it is often the girl who loses out.”

More than ever today, children need a good quality education and training if they are to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in the labour market, the ILO said.

“However, in many countries the schools which are accessible to the poor families are under-resourced and inadequate. Poor fac