The report shows the need for coherent policies to tackle child labour and the lack of decent jobs for the youth.
The ILO report, prepared for the World Day against Child Labour, said around 20 to 30 per cent of children in low income countries complete their schooling and enter the labour market by the age of 15.
The report, which was made available to the Ghana News Agency by the ILO, said most of these children were once child labourers.
The World Report on Child Labour 2015: “Paving the way to decent work for young people” reveals that young people who were burdened by work as children are consistently more likely to have to settle for unpaid family jobs and are more likely to be in low paying jobs.
“Our new report shows the need for a coherent policy approach that tackles child labour and the lack of decent jobs for youth. Keeping children in school and receiving a good education until at least the minimum age of employment, will determine the future of a child.
“It is the only way for a child to acquire the basic knowledge and skills needed for further learning, and for her or his future working life,” Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General said.
To take up this challenge, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize co-Laureate Kailash Satyarthi has called for a change of mind-set.
“When we consider our biological children, we think that they are born to become doctors, engineers, and professors – the whole world is for them. But when we talk about other children, we think, ok, they are poor children, let them work, we will slowly help them. Let us consider all children our children.”
The report addresses the twin challenges of eliminating child labour and ensuring decent work for young people. Based on a 12 country survey, it examines the future careers of former child labourers and early school leavers.
The main findings of the report are that, prior involvement in child labour is associated with lower educational attainment and later in life with jobs that fail to meet basic decent work criteria.
The report said early school leavers were less likely to secure stable jobs and were at a greater risk of remaining outside the world of work altogether.
It said a high share of 15-17 year olds in many countries were in jobs that have been classified as hazardous or worst forms of child labour.
It said those in hazardous work were more likely to have left school early before reaching the legal minimum age of employment.
The report recommends early interventions to get children out of child labour and into school as well as measures to facilitate the transition from school to decent work opportunities for young people.
It said particular attention should be given to the 47.5 million young people aged 15-17 in hazardous work and the special vulnerabilities of girls and young women.
“National policies should be directed towards removing children and young people from hazardous jobs and towards removing the hazards in the workplace,” Ryder said.
The ILO’s most recent estimate is that 168 million children are in child labour, with 120 million of them aged five-14.
The report underscores the critical importance of intervening early in the life cycle against child labour.
This year’s World Day against child labour would be marked on June 12, on the theme: “No to Child Labour – Yes to Quality Education.”