The focus of the SRISTI SUMMER SCHOOL 2013 is to design and fabricate devices that eliminate the need for child labour.
There has been a worldwide concern about continued denial of childhood to the children. Persistence of child labour not only affects the future capabilities of children but also perpetuates a moral myth that any means of generating economic surplus or growth is acceptable. The right to education Act requires every child must be provided school education. In cases where children go to school and work, fatigue and other work related impact often decrease a child’s school performance. The state has no discretion or dilemma in the matter. However, the tragedy is that laws seldom prove to be sufficient.
In this initiative, we are trying three alternative approaches:
a. Eliminate the demand for child labour by substituting the tasks in which children are engaged by mechanical or other technological processes. It is understood that eliminating one task does not mean children will not be forced to work in other more vulnerable tasks. But there will be one reason less for them to work. Technological change will have to be accompanied by institutional changes so that children have better choices.
b. Eliminate the supply of child labour by increasing the productivity and thus income of the parents who send their children for work. It is hoped that the children would be sent to school once the parents’ incomes increase. However, much depends upon the historical debts and the extent of deferred consumption which may take a toll on the newly realised income of parents. In general when demand for highly skilled labour increases, the parents tend to invest more in their children’s education hoping that the children will reap the advantage of such a trend in the economy.
c. Reduce the hazards in the tasks in which labour is employed so that in the event of any adverse contingency, the children of the affected adult labourer do not have to be withdrawn from school for labour. Hazardous industries affect the health of adults as well as children. The involvement of labour without adequate safety standards is illegal and thus must not be allowed. But reducing hazards in tasks which are legal, such as linemen working on electrical poles, it does reduce the probability of adverse contingencies that might cost children their childhood.
For this purpose, SRISTI, in collaboration with ILO and supported by NIF, organises a Summer School for the fabrication of innovative technological devices for elimination of child labour and /or enhancing income of their parents to prevent child labour.