In many societies teachers are looked upon as the individuals who can help to bring about positive changes in the lives of people. They are seen as natural leaders who can give advice on various affairs of the communities. Within the context of their direct interaction with children, parents and communities, teachers could play several major roles in the prevention and elimination of child labour.
Teachers are well positioned to identify the school-age children in the community, to encourage parents to enrol them in various activities, to provide children with an interesting learning environment and to assist them with their educational problems and needs. Organisations are also responsible for monitoring non-enrolment and absences, and teachers and other educational personnel need to be empowered to monitor the regular attendance of children, assess whether they are involved in work and to what extent this interferes with their activities and identify children who are at risk of dropping out. They can then contact the parents and provide help for these children.
It is vital that teachers and their organizations participate in decision-making and in educational planning and reform. The very nature of teachers’ organizations as advocates for teachers’ rights makes them effective partners in realizing and maximizing the potential of education in the fight against child labour. All the analyses on the relation between education and child labour point to the urgent need to improve the status of teachers and their working conditions and to address their continuing development as professionals. These are prerequisites for improving the quality of education in all countries, especially in developing countries where most of the world’s child labourers live.