In terms of programs, what exactly are the basic defects in the government’s approach?

March 07, 2014 | FAQs | No Comments

The trouble with the government’s policies and programs in regard to child labour and education is that they operate completely on negative premises. They assume that ‘poor’ parents cannot and will not withdraw children from work and enroll them in schools. They assume that the parents feel that the education system is irrelevant and this is another major reason why they will not send their children to school. And, finally they believe that the formal school system is not the appropriate system for children of ‘poor’ parents.

This approach completely ignores the fact that even today a large number of the so-called poor parents are sending their children to school. It does not recognise the latent desire on the part of even ‘poor’ parents to seek a better future for their children through education and their capacity and willingness to make sacrifices in terms of time and money in order to realise this desire. Rather it gets bogged down much in the nature of a well-fed man who is unable to understand how someone who does not get to eat even two square meals a day can possibly want the same things he wants.

In this situation rather than dealing with the problem of child labour in its entirety the government programs adopt a piecemeal approach. This is doomed to failure from the very start because even if the program is successful in withdrawing some children from the workforce there will always be others available to take their place.

In terms of implementation mechanism the reach of the government very rarely extends beyond the last point where an institution exists. Thus all its programs essentially stop at the school level and processes and issues that stretch beyond the school to the community and the household are essentially beyond its reach

As a result even the best program of the government can impact only those in schools and those out of school and at work cannot even be accessed. Given the fact that the most of the problem lay in this domain the capacity of even the better-implemented government programs to alter the existing situation in regard to child labour and education is extremely limited.

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