Workers Education attempts to give workers a better understanding of their status, rights and responsibilities as workers, as union members, as family members and as citizens. Workers Education addresses a whole range of skills and knowledge, which contribute to the harmonious development of a worker’s personality, his role in the society and the knowledge and attitudes required for such roles. Workers Education emphasises group advancement and solution of group problems. It differs from vocational and professional education, which is meant for individual advancement whereas the Workers Education lays stress on group advancement.
Workers education is one of the principle objectives of the Ministry of Labour and Employment which, it seeks to achieve through the enforcement of various Labour Laws and implementation of various schemes and Programmes. The main thrust is on the education of Tribal workers, Women Workers and Weaker section workers.
The Central Board for Workers Education (CBWE) an autonomous body under the Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India was started in 1958. It has initiated Workers Education Scheme in India which has been playing a very significant role in our national development; creating an enlightened and disciplined work force and bringing about desirable behavioral changes in our workforce in the organized, unorganized and rural sectors. It gets grants-in-aid from the Ministry of Labour & Employment to operate its activities. The Scheme of Workers Education aims at achieving the objectives of creating and increasing awareness and educating the workforce for their effective participation in the socio-economic development of the country. To achieve these objectives, various training programmes are conducted by the Board for the workers of formal and informal sectors at national, regional and unit levels through a network of 50 Regional and 09 Sub-Regional Directorates spread all over the country and an apex Training Institute viz. Indian Institute of Workers Education (IIWE) at Mumbai.
The Constitution of India guarantees right to education to the citizens. Article 45 of the Indian Constitution enjoins that the State shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six and fourteen years.” Also Article 21A (which has been inserted by the 86th Amendment in December, 2002 has not yet been brought into force) provides that the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.
In pursuance of National Child Labour Policy, a Scheme was started in 1988 to rehabilitate child labour. It contains the action plan for tackling the problem of child labour. The Scheme seeks to adopt a sequential approach with focus on rehabilitation of children working in hazardous occupations & processes in the first instance. Under the Scheme, after a survey of child labour engaged in hazardous occupations & processes has been conducted, children are to be withdrawn from these occupations & processes and then put into special schools in order to enable them to be mainstreamed into formal schooling system. The scheme of child labour elimination has been linked with the scheme of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan of the MHRD in order to ensure that small children in the age group of 5-8 years get directly linked to school and the older children are mainstreamed to the formal education system through the rehabilitation centres and also vocational training is imparted to them.