As the world celebrates International Day of Education on January 24th, it is time to reflect how access to quality education fights child labour, gives children a brighter future, breaks the cycle of poverty, promotes development and advances progress towards the SDGs.
At ECLT, we have always known that if children are in school for a full day at a time, then they are a lot less likely to be doing work which puts their health, safety, education and development at risk. To keep kids in school and away from child labour, we’ve found that the quality of education is just as important as enrolment, especially in primary school where a positive attitude to learning the basic skill in reading and writing are critical for progression in school and in the world of work later on in life.
School is a place to learn
According to the United Nations, more than half of children of primary and lower secondary age lacked minimum proficiency in reading and maths in 2015, that’s 617 million children worldwide. Access to quality education remains a big challenge in many developing countries. While many countries on the African Continent are making progress in getting children into school “most of those who attend school are not acquiring the basic skills necessary for success later in life” according to the World Bank.
Improving literacy and numeracy rates
Improving the quality of education is a priority for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4: to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. To advance progress towards achieving SDG 4, improve the quality of education in rural communities, and keep children in a safe and welcoming learning environment, ECLT is implementing a three-step programme:
- Baseline assessments: a survey at point of enrolment and graduation to assess children’s reading, writing and maths levels helps inform learning needs, tailor the curriculum to this and address gaps.
- Literacy and numeracy boost programmes: supporting children to acheive the basic level in reading, writing and maths at school (and after-school when necessary) closes the gap for those who join school at a later age, and makes sure that no one is left behind.
- Teacher mentoring: training teachers to incorporate core reading and maths skills into the curricula and methods to assist children who are struggling to keep up.
Welcoming children into school and away from child labour
The ECLT Foundation believes that no child should be working in a field at the expense of his or her future and we keep education as a top priority in all of our projects. Since 2011, we have helped over 27,000 children out of child labour and back into school and improved facilities at more than 16 schools. We have ensured that over 17,000 children get a proper meal at school, so they can concentrate on their studies and not on their stomachs. Over 3,300 young people were trained in a new job skill, opening new job opportunities doors for their futures.