Government of India                                           Ministry of Labour


A Note on the activities of
Central Board for Workers Education

Introduction :

During the Second Five Year Plan it was felt by the Planners that democratic society like ours requires an active and intelligent participation of workers in the affairs of their trade unions and of the country for its speedy socio-economic development. A strong, free, responsible and democratic trade union movement can make significant contribution to the realisation of better life for workers. Workers should be trained to play their roles effectively for attainment of socio-economic development of the country. It was envisaged that Workers Education can help in preparing the Workers and their trade unions to play their role effectively in the task of nation building. It necessitated the Government of India in the year 1957 to secure an expert advice in formulating "Workers Education Scheme".

The Government of India, in co-operation with the Ford Foundation, appointed an International Team of Experts to suggest Workers Education Scheme.

The team of experts submitted its report in March, 1957. The recommendations of the team were endorsed by the 15th Session of the Indian Labour Conference in July 1957. The Indian Labour Conference recommended setting up of a semi-autonomous Board for administering the Workers Education Scheme. Consequent upon the recommendations of the Indian Labour Conference, the Central Board for Workers Education established in 1958 was registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 on 16th September 1958 as a tripartite society.

The Broad Structure of the Organisation :

1).The Members of the Society ( Board) include the Chairman, ( nominated by the Govt. of India ), Representatives of Workers, Employers, Government ( both Central and State ) and Educational Bodies.

2) The Director of the Board is the Member Secretary and Principal Executive Officer.

3) The affairs of the Board are managed by a Governing Body elected annually from amongst the members of the Board.

Objectives of the Organisation :

The Board operates its activities at three levels viz; national, regional and unit level and conducts various training programmes for the organised, unorganised/small scale, rural and informal sector workers with the following objectives :

i) To strengthen among all sections of the working class, including rural workers, a sense of Patriotism, National Integrity, Unity, Amity, Communal Harmony, Secularism and pride in being an Indian.

ii) To equip all sections of workers including rural workers for their intelligent participation in social and economic development of the nation in accordance with its declared objectives.

iii) To develop among workers a greater understanding of the problems of their social and economic environment, their responsibilities towards family members, and their rights and obligations as citizens, as workers in industry, as members and officials of their Trade Union.

iv) To develop leadership from among the rank and file of workers themselves.

v) To develop strong, united and more responsible trade unions through more enlightened members and better trained officials.

vi) To strengthen democratic processes and traditions in the Trade Union Movement

vii) To enable Trade Unions themselves to take over ultimately the functions of Workers Education.

The national level programmes are conducted by the Indian Institute of Workers Education, an apex training institute of the Board established in 1970, while the regional and unit level programmes are conducted through a network of 48 Regional and 15 Sub-Regional Centres spread throughout the country. The four Zonal Directorates established by the Board superwise and monitor the activities of the Regional Centres under their respective zones at Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai.

Important Activities /Schemes :

Initially the Board’s activities were concentrated on educating the workers employed in the organised sector. However, as recommended by the Workers Education Review Committee and agreed by the Govt. of India, the Board shifted its emphasis from organised sector to the education of workers in rural sector. Starting with seven pilot projects since 1977-78, the rural workers education of the Board has become a regular, continuing and countrywide programme. However the role of the Central Board for Workers Education is mainly educational and motivational through dialogic process to equip rural workers to appreciate and analyse their socio-economic problems through organised action. The categories of workers covered in these rural programmes are in conformity with ILO Convention No. 141 and Recommendation No.149 on rural workers.

Further the Board took initiative to educate the workers of Unorganised and Small Scale Sector industries since 1979 with a view to develop awareness about their problems, difficulties and protective labour laws at work place and help them in finding solutions as well as equip them in developing and strengthening their own organisations.

The Board has also been organising since 1984 periodic camps for the workers in the stone querries and stone crushers of Faridabad District to enlighten them about their rights and entitlements as per the directives of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.

In pursuance of the new directions and dimensions, the Board has evolved several specialised short term programmes to meet the growing needs of the workers at grass-root. Short-term programmes on productivity education, population education, participative education are organised at enterprise level while tailor-made programmes were also structured to meet the educational needs of weaker section workers.

Joint Educational Programmes have been introduced at the Plant Level for the representatives of workers and management who come together for a purposeful dialogue on selected theme which affect the both. The joint educational programmes have become popular as it gives opportunity for the worker to meet at a common forum.

The Board has recently launched a new programme "Quality of Life for Workers and their Spouses" with a view to mould their attitudes, develop motivation, build up personality, raise family status, maintain good neighbourhood relations, develop awareness about environmental cleanliness, develop a spirit of team work, human relations, productivity consciousness, commitment to discipline, mutual trust and hygiene etc.

Collaboration :

Since 1971, the Board organised several tripartite seminars, workshops and symposia in collaboration with ILO, UNFPA and Department of Family Welfare, Ministry of Health, Government of India.

Grants-In-Aid :

The Board encourages trade unions and educational institutions to undertake their own workers education programmes with the financial assistance under the Grants-in-Aid Scheme of the Board.

International Projects :

The International Labour Organisation entrusted the Board with the following projects.

1) ILO-UNFPA Project on curriculum development and Teaching Aids on Population Education and Family Welfare.

2) ILO-UNFPA Project on Population Education in the organised sector for production of Educational and Motivational material for Population Education.

3) ILO-UNFPA Project on Population Education Phase-II.

Through these projects, Manuals, Monographs, Pictorial Booklets, Fact Sheets, Talking Points and Visual Aids have been produced for worker educators, teaching institutes, trade union leaders, local union representatives and active worker motivators in Asia and India.

Recently the Board has successfully completed the ILO /IPEC-CBWE Project on "Elimination of Child Labour" under which an action programme was formulated for raising the awareness of workers by developing and inputting capsules on Child Labour into the on-going training programmes of the Board. This Project was limited to 12 Regional Centres of the Board.

Literature and A.V.Aid :

The Board publishes simple literature and study material in form of textual and pictorial booklets in English and Indian Languages in a lucid style on subjects such as Trade Unionism, Labour-Management Relations, Labour Economics, Labour Laws, Population and Family Welfare etc., To sustain the interest of of participants in the class and also to make teaching more interesting, the Board has brought out various types of audio-visual aids such as posters, flipcharts, flannel graphs, posters, stickers etc., on different themes.

Programmes :

The Board conducts the following training programmes at the national, regional and unit/village levels.

A. National Level

1. Training of Education Officers at the Indian Institute of Workers Education, Mumbai (5 months) and Re-training (1 month ).

2. Workshops/Refresher Courses for Education Officers ( 1 week ).

3. Training Programmes for Trade Union Officials ( 1 week).

4. National Seminars on Important topics ( 2 days).

B. Regional Level

1. Worker-Teachers Training Course ( 3 months)

2. Leadership Development Course (1 month)

3. Refresher Course for Worker Teachers ( 1 week)

4. Course for Rural Educators/Organisers ( 1 month)

5. Orientation Programme for Rural Educators/Organisers ( 1week)

6. Joint Educational Programme on Participative Management ( 3 days)

7. Need Based Seminar ( 2 days)

8. Joint Educational Programme for Members of Joint Councils and Bipartite Committees (2 days)

9. Quality of Life for Workers and their Spouses (2/5 Days)

10. Special Seminar at Plan Level ( 1 Day )

C. Unit Level

1. Two day Awareness Camps for Rural Workers.

2. Camp for Workers in Unorganised Sector/Weaker Section (5 days).

3. Special Seminars for Unorganised/Weaker Section ( 2 Days).

4. Special Seminar for Women Labour ( 2 days )

5. Special Seminar for SC/ST Workers ( 2 days)

6. Special Seminar for Parents of Child Labour/ Child Labour ( 2 days)

7. Part-Time Unit Level Class ( 3 months)

8. Part-time Unit Level Class ( 1 month)

9. Functional Adult Literacy Class ( 6 months)

10. Need Based Special Programme at the Unit Level ( 3-5 days)

11. Week-end Unit Level Class ( 3 months)

Priorities of the Programmes :

The Board has been reviewing its activities and programmes from time to time and has been concentrating on conducting joint training programmes for the Representatives of the Workers and Management with a view to promote congenial industrial relations climate. It is also laying increasing emphasis on Leadership Development Programme for trade union activists, short-term training programme on Workers Participation in Management, Productivity, Industrial Health and Safety and special programmes for Women and Child Workers.


Though the Board is not an administering machinery of the labour laws enacted for the formal and informal sectors workers, however, it is invariably discussing the provisions of all such laws in all its training programmes with a view to enlighten the workers.

Important Performance Indicators ( Financial / physical)

Since the Workers Education Scheme is sponsored by the Ministry of Labour, it is fully financed by the Govt. of India. As such the expenditure on the Scheme is being incurred as per the norms laid down by the Govt. of India.

The Budget sanctioned by the Govt. of India for the Workers Education Scheme of the Board for the last five years is as follows :


( Rs. in Lakhs )
  • 1993-94 152.00 590.00

  • 1994-95 218.00 613.00

  • 1995-96 207.00 627.00

  • 1996-97 108.00 787.00

  • 1997-98 145.00 921.00

With the above budget, the Board is managing its activities to carry the message of workers education. However, in the changed scenario, in order to reach the doorstep of workers working at the remote places, it has become absolutely necessary that cooperation of all the concerned is received to achieve the goals for which the Board is established.

The following figures will indicate the progress of Workers Education Scheme since inception i.e. 1958 till March 1998 in the various training programmes.

1. Education Officers - Direct 735 ( Including 137 Trade Union Nominees)

2. Worker Teachers ( 3 month ) 86417

3. Participants in Leadership 51754 Development Courses (1 month)

4. Refresher Courses for Worker 37273 Teachers ( 1 Week )

5. Joint Educational Programmes 230211 ( 3 Days)

6. Need Based Seminar ( 2 Days) 81236

7. Self Generation of Funds 7432

8. Workers in Short Term 1073711 Training Programmes  ( upto 85-86 )

9. Workers in Unit Level 3979854 Classes ( 3 months/3 weeks)

10. Need Based Special 293353   Programmes ( 1 Week)

11. Joint Educational 241374 Programmes for New  Members of Joint Councils at Enterprise Level
      ( 2 Days )

12. Workers in Functional Adult 253767 Literacy Classes

13. Quality of Life for 495 Workers and their Spouses( 5 Days )

14. Quality of Life for 683 Workers and their Spouses( 2 Days )

15. Unorganised Sector 228848 Workers/Weaker Section( 5 Days )

16. Workers in Rural 1560684 Awareness Camps  ( 2 Days)

17. Rural Educators 2339 ( 1 month ) 765 Rural Organisers

18. Orientation Programmes 3424 for Rural Educators ( 1 Week)

19. Special Seminar for 56432 Unorganised Sector ( 2 days)

20. Special Seminar for 41652 Women Workers ( 2 Days )

21. Special Seminar for 37403 SC/ST Workers ( 2 Days )

22. Special Seminar for 7348  Parents of Child Labour/ Child Labour ( 2 Days )

23. Special Seminar at 2253 Plant Level ( 1 Day )

24. By Grantees 591357