In recent years however some governments have begun

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In recent years, however, some governments have begun to deal with the problems of making education more accessible and attractive to working children, often with prodding and assistance from NGOs and multi-lateral and bi-lateral development cooperation agencies. This comes at an opportune time, because during the last two years international interest in 1 ° reaching working and out-of-school children with effective education programmes has been steadily growing. This new attention presents an opportunity for both national and international cooperation, including with NG0s, to develop truly child-friendly education, based in modern concepts of child development, that serves the best interests of children who work. RECOMMENDATIONS: REFLECTING CHILDREN'S BEST INTERESTS IN POLICY AND ACTION All actions to protect working children should he firmly rooted in child welfare and development objectives. Only a child-centred perspective based on developmental principles and priorities can he relied upon to promote children's best interests. By focusing policy and programme objectives on children's potential and what is needed to realize that potential, such a perspective keeps interventions from being so short- sighted that they cause long term harm to children they try to assist in the short term. Emergency interventions are indeed sometimes necessary, but they should be planned so that they contribute to the physical and psychosocial well-being and development of the children involved. A child-centred approach challenges the notion that child work should be addressed primarily as a labour issue, as is now the general rule. It makes much more sense to approach work in terms of its role as an important formative influence in the lives of perhaps the majority of the world's children. This suggests that child work should be regarded less from a legal perspective than in the broader context of children's social ties, aspirations, skills and competencies, and evolving initiative and sense of self worth. Factors such as these are critical in deciding whether work is good or bad for children, and it is difficult to deal with them through legal instruments, which are essentially irrelevant. An outright ban on children working, for example, does not really address the real factors that endanger children in their work, and it therefore serves children's best interests poorly at best. Overall, a child-centred approach would make less use of 16 Promoting the Best Interests of Working Children
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minimum age laws, public sector inspection of workplaces and labour practices, compulsory school attendance, and other coercive measures, although these might still have an important role to play. It would instead rely more on mobilizational activities such as poverty reduction, advocacy and campaigning on children's rights, economic and social incentives, participation of children and their parents in policy and programme planning, improvement of school accessability and quality, and the introduction of
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