Education for Child Labour: Evaluating the National Child Labour Policy in West Bengal, India

Pundarik Mukhopadhaya*, Uttam Bhattacharya, Craig MacMillan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Transitioning child labourers from work to education is a key component of global efforts to eliminate child labour. In India, the National Child Labour Project is the central programme aimed at achieving this goal. This paper examines the operation of the project in the state of West Bengal using original survey data collected in 2008. The survey reveals a number of promising findings, including high rates of provision of both midday meals and free learning materials to students, as well as evidence of adequate schooling quality and availability. However, areas of concern were also identified, including irregularities in stipend payments to parents of child labourers who send their children to school and inadequate provision of free health services to children who attend school rather than work. These operational short-comings revealed by the survey reduce the incentive and ability parents have to send their children to school rather than work and, accordingly, undermine the effectiveness of the project.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-675
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Contemporary Asia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


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