Access to education is key to ending child labour – Experts

Written by on August 10, 2021

By Eniola Olurankinse

Access to education is the only key to ending child labor, but many countries are not investing enough to rescue over 180 million children globally from often hazardous work.

This was the submission of some experts while speaking on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour.

Crest FM’s Eniola Olurankinse who samples experts and activists’ opinions on how to completely eradicate child labour in Nigeria reports that when schools offer meals, transport and occupational training, children can often stop working and have full access to their rights.

A drive through some states capital cities in Nigeria shows the levels to which the country has reduced her future generation, the children, on the street, having to make a living for themselves and their families.

In Akure the capital city of Ondo state for instance, along Oba Adesida road and adjoining routes, children of all ages are seen capitalizing on traffic gridlock to make quick sales at the risk of being run over. 

Child labour is not only about children performing small tasks around the house or is children participating in work appropriate to their level of development which allows them to acquire practical life skills and responsibility.

Child labour is also about the exploitation of the most vulnerable, disadvantaged, and marginalized children in society.

These children have different stories to tell even some with very good command of the English language.

This does not happen only in Nigeria, as it is one of the problems a section of the child population in Africa faces, and on the continent, child labour and exploitation are hardly seen as abnormal.

Another story of Chidinma who lives in Odioolowo in Akure, tells different reasons behind child labour.

In a possible way out, experts and activists have canvassed prioritizing campaigns against child labour and the need to raise children’s consciousness on their rights as well as obligations in order not to fall prey to exploitation, abuse, and slavery-like practices.

A Child Right activist, Taiwo Akinlami, argued that as many underage children must have been forced into child labour due to poverty, it was not a child’s responsibility to contribute to the home upkeep either due to poverty or any means.

Meanwhile, some parents and school administrators also believed that the persistence of child labour is rooted in poverty and lack of decent work for adults, lack of social protection, and a failure to ensure that all children are attending school from the legal minimum age for admission.

The National Bureau of Statistics 2019 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), shows that about 46 per cent of Nigerian children, in the age between 5 and 10, are working and about half of the working children are estimated to be engaged in child labour. 

Children in Nigeria engage in the worst forms of child labour, including work in quarry granite and gravel, commercial sexual exploitation, and armed conflict in the northeast where there is an increase of out school children.

A regional project dabbed Accelerating Action for the Elimination of Child Labour, (ACCEL,) in Supply Chains in Africa was launched in 2018 and it aims to tackle child labour in supply chains in six African countries, Nigeria, namely Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Malawi, Mali, and Uganda.

Whether children deserves to be on the street to fend for themselves and their families is an unanswered question across Africa.

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