The elimination of child labour is interlinked with the provision of full-time, formal and quality education provide free to all. Many children do not have a choice but to work because there is no (well-functioning) educational system available or because they are not stimulated to attend education. During the Industrial Revolution it was possible to eliminate child labour in Europe due to a combined mandate of prohibiting child labour and implementing compulsory education. This should also happen in developing countries.
However, the discussion on Education for All is often held without consideration of the fact that child labour is a huge obstacle for a large number of children to attend school. Building schools and improving the quality of education is therefore not enough. It is also essential to take a more active approach towards child labour (including child domestic labour) by developing specific strategies, to be able to mainstream all children under the age of fourteen into schools.
Governments are responsible for the educational system and they should take up this responsibility. It is not only important that quality education is offered to children already in school. It is important that programmes for basic education in developing countries include a strategy that is mainstreaming working and other non-school-going children below the age of fourteen into formal, full-time education.
Likewise it is essential to establish a norm that work must never be an impediment for children to attend basic daytime education. As long as the community is accepting that children work instead of going to school, child labour and low school participation will not be eradicated.