PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Aug 03 2017 – “There are no reported cases of child labour in Trinidad and Tobago but this does not mean that it does not exist,” says Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Lovell Francis. He was speaking at the opening ceremony of a two-day seminar titled: School-to-Work transition for the Prevention of Child Labour.
This seminar, which has been organized with the collaboration of the Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development and the Ministry of Education, is being undertaken as part of the ILO-Brazil South-South Cooperation Programme, with funding provided by the Government of Brazil. The South-South Cooperation Programme was launched as part of the Brazilian support to the “Regional Initiative- Latin America and Caribbean free of Child Labour”. The objective is to share the innovative and successful Brazilian experience with apprenticeships.
“Well-designed apprenticeship programmes are a key instrument for transitioning from the school system into the world of work, while upholding the rights of children and preventing the early and illegal entry of children into the labour force,” says Claudia Coenjaerts, Director of the ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean which has been facilitating arrangements on behalf of the ILO- Brazil. “We are therefore grateful to our Brazilian experts for having agreed to share their Insights about the key elements of legislation, inspection, curricula design and student management”.
Experience shows that work-based learning, and specifically apprenticeships, is highly relevant in supporting successful school-to-work transition. The Brazilian experience proves that an enabling environment allowing for successful investment in education and warranting a smooth transition to work does indeed play a role in reducing the likelihood of children engaging in Child Labour. It also proves that effective multi-dimensional responses involving multiple stakeholders from the education sector active in the identification, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of training, to the labour administration responsible for inspections, to the civil society and the private sector, may deliver big dividends.
The Regional initiative is a platform for inter-governmental cooperation which embraces the active participation of employers’ and workers’ organizations. In all of its forms and throughout its research, knowledge sharing, capacity enhancing and advocacy activities, it is a commitment by the Caribbean and Latin American countries to speed up the pace of eliminating the worst forms of child labour and all forms of child labour. This commitment goes beyond the region and is also crystalized in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, where Target 8.7 calls for the elimination of child labour in all of its forms by 2025.
Both the Governments of Trinidad and Tobago and of Grenada joined the Regional Initiative and are among 27 countries in the hemisphere, 7 of which hail from the Caribbean, that are actively involved in addressing this issue. An integrated effort to address the nexus between education and the world of work is a successful prevention strategy.
“If this nation goes about educating its children well, and ensures that every child has a chance at quality education and quality training regardless of the field they choose or the skill or otherwise, and if we do that in a prudent and sensible manner, we would have done very well to ensure our continuation as a nation and our further development,” declared Minister of State, Dr. Lovell Francis.
As the ILO joins forces with its tri-partite stakeholders: Governments, Employers’ and Workers’ organizations, to deliver on the ambitious 2030 agenda, it is reassuring to witness the power of South- South cooperation as it provides great, and largely untapped opportunity, for cross- country learning to help ensuring a better future for our youth.
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