Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The regulation of the labour of children has always been bound up with the question of their education. We feel that the case of the plantations presents certain characteristics which make it not unreasonable to look to the employer for a bigger contribution towards the education of the actual and potential child worker. Their labour has been recruited from a far field and frequently brought into an area populated by an alien people.
Moreover the bulk of the plantations are situated tar from any Government educational facilities. Nor does the provision of land for a school site or the cost of erection of a suitable building provide any of the initial difficulties in respect of scarcity of floor space and high costs of construction which often characterise the problem in a big city. The Central Government have been able to insist on the provision for the children of the Indian worker who emigrates to the plantations of Malaya and Ceylon of suitable educational facilities up to the legal minimum age of employment, i.e., 10 years, and experience has shown that, in the comparatively brief time these requirements have been in operation, the response of the parents, though in the first instance modest as was to be expected, is very gradually improving and a slowly increasing percentage of children of school age are reported] year by year as benefiting from the facilities provided. Although compulsion can be exercised both on employees and parents, there has been throughout a sympathetic administration. which has shown a true understanding by Government of the difficulties to be encountered and of the fact that the initial progress must necessarily be slow if the foundations are to be securely laid. The evidence given before us in India convinces us that the spirit of goodwill on both sides and the readiness to co-operate are there, if only the impetus to make the start can be given, and thus obviate the difficulty created by the present tendency of both local Governments and the industry each to look to the other to make the first move.