Malala Day: children deserve education, not work
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber and the leaders of three teacher unions in the UK (ATL, NASUWT and NUT) have written to the Pakistani High Commissioner in London today as part of a global campaign to get children out of the workplace and into school.
Today has been designated Malala Day by the UN, to mark the bravery of teenager Malala Yosufzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot in the head for speaking up for her right to education exactly a month ago. So the Global March Against Child Labour, which the TUC supports, has been promoting an #IamMalala global petition calling for children to be in school rather than in work. The campaign, which has already generated over a million signatures, is backed by the UN special envoy for education, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who backed the GMACL campaign when he visited India this week.
TUC and teacher union leaders called for
- Pakistan to agree a plan to deliver education for every child through building schools, training teachers and funding families whose daughters regularly attend school;
- all countries to outlaw discrimination against girls; and
- international organisations to ensure the world’s 61 million out of school children are in education by the end of 2015.
Gordon Brown’s appointment as the UN special envoy for global education – building on his work chairing the union-backed Global Campaign for Education – has given a boost to the campaign against child labour, although teacher unions have been arguing for years that children should be in school rather than work because, long-term, that benefits the children, their often unemployed or poor parents, and the economy as a whole.