Most government and non-government initiatives to eliminate child labour accept poverty, irrelevance of education and so on as the cause of child labour. As a result they lack a comprehensive approach to the problem. These initiatives generally involve tackling a particular segment, by and large, the so-called highly exploitative forms of child labour. In other words these initiatives are not based on the belief that all forms of child labour can be eliminated. Very often the implementation of these programs involves providing financial incentives to parents to send their children to school or linking it to other economic incentives like a self-employment scheme for the parents.
In other words they are not based on the belief that parents can and are willing to withdraw their children from work and send them to schools. There are some programs which withdraw children from one form of work and engage them in other, apparently more useful, form of work variously described as vocational education or ‘earn while you learn’ scheme. In other words these programs are based on the belief that childhood is essentially a process of converting children into income earning workers. There are some programs that talk of organizing child labourers into unions to assert themselves. But, this does little to remove them from the labour force and hence is not particularly relevant in the context of eliminating child labour.
As far as universalizing education is concerned policy makers in their wisdom have analysed the situation, arrived at some solutions and have gone ahead with implementing them. The approach has essentially been top-down. No effort has been made to create a demand and there introduce a program in response to the demand. These solutions even if correct can work only if they are seen by the community to be in response to their demands.
In terms of program the emphasis of the government and many other organisations has been on NFE. Again this assumes that a child has to work and that education should not interfere with the work patterns of the child. Finally, there has not been any significant success in introducing compulsory education laws on the ground that this would lead to harassment of parents. The problem in fact is inadequate investment in the sector and compulsory educations laws are avoided mainly to avoid having to provide the necessary infrastructure to support the legislation.