Innovation and learning/Quality Education

Quality education: an important piece in the child labour puzzle

Last year, ICI delved further into the link between education quality and child labour. This research found a strong correlation between higher quality education and lower prevalence of child labour.

The study, covering 258 cocoa-growing communities, examined school access, infrastructure, services and school management. Several of these factors were associated with lower rates of child labour, including the presence of school meal programmes in Ghana, having trained school management committees in Côte d’Ivoire, and, in both countries, the existence of school toilets.

On their own, most of these factors did not have a statistically significant association with child labour. But combined, the link between child labour and quality education became stronger. Collecting these factors together into a Quality Education Index, we saw that in the communities with the highest quality of education score, child labour prevalence stood at 10%, or 66% lower than in the communities with the lowest quality of education score.

While we know that quality education can positively impact a child’s development, livelihood and future prospects, there is much less evidence about the causal link between education interventions and child labour. What we do know, is that many children successfully combine school and work. This suggests that while activities to improve access to quality education may play an important role, they are unlikely to address child labour on their own.

We have shared our findings on education and child labour with the cocoa sector and are using what we’ve learned in our work in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. We’re also working to fill the existing knowledge gaps. ICI continues to support ongoing research to identify which strategies are most effective in cocoa-growing communities, including through our ongoing pilot innovation projects. One of these pilots is examining the impact of several different interventions related to quality education: training on child protection, new teaching methodologies, renovation of classrooms, construction of school toilets, and school playgrounds.

> Read our Quality Education Report