Ending child labour
Bangladesh has made encouraging progress in increasing the number of enrollment in schools and yet 1.7 million children find themselves toiling in the informal sector of the economy, a majority of them involved in various forms of hazardous jobs. To end this scourge, there has to be proper coordination among ministries and between the government and the NGOs, experts observed at a recently held workshop. The government should, therefore, implement the National Child Labour Elimination Policy-2010, allocate sufficient funding for children and establish a child directorate.
Causes behind child labour are real and so should be our response to address them. It is often argued that children's wages are essential to the survival of poor families. But this flies in the face of overwhelming evidence that children who are forced to sacrifice education for work are doomed to a lifetime of low-wage jobs, perpetuating the cycle of poverty. The International Labour Organization estimates that economies reap a sevenfold return on every dollar spent on eradicating child labour and investing in education and social services for children. If the choice is some incentives in education, then impoverished families are more willing to send their children to school, studies show.
And yet all these measures, even when implemented, may fall short. The biggest challenge perhaps lies in the dualistic mindset of society. We raise our biological children to conquer the world but when it comes to other children, we tend to think that it's alright for them to work. If we cannot begin to consider all children our own, then we are not ready to end this social evil.