Illiteracy and inflation major causes of increasing child labour

AMBER IJAZ, FAIZA FATIMA, RABIA IMTIAZ LAHORE - Not less than 40 million poverty stricken children in Pakistan have been suffering from child labour owing to lack of effective educational policies and ever increasing inflation, turning their future worse, The Nation has learnt. Universally ignored laws regarding child labour also exist in Pakistan but more than 15 million children, aged 4-to-14 are forced to work in factories every year. According to a survey, almost 1/3 of the working children are literate. As per the Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS), in Pakistan children aged 5-14 are above 40 million. FBS findings indicate that 3.8 million out of total 40 million children aged between 5 to 14 years are working in Pakistan in this age group; fifty percent of these economically active children are in age group of 5 to 9 years. Even out of these 3.8 million economically active children, 2.7 million were claimed to be working in the agriculture sector. Two million and four hundred thousand (73%) of them were said to be boys. According to the FBS last year findings, more than half of the child-workers (58.6% or 1.94 million) have been working in Punjab province. Causes of Child Labour: Children problems are directly connected with various socio-economic factors including poverty, the main cause, which leads to illiteracy, low productivity, poor health and low life expectancy. During the survey, at least 80 percent people were of the view, poverty destroys the whole life of a child, his life passes as a paralyse part of family because he cannot even write his name, it is his spiritual death because education is a basic right of any child. They said many children play a key role in sustaining the economic life of their families, without which, their families would unable to make their ends meet. A child labourer is unable to take care of his family properly owing to lower income. Every mother wishes to see her children in school but what can she does expect seeing her children in factories, some housewives commented. Reply to a query, one woman said we should solve those problems, which forces the children to work in factory and the factories owners, who employ the minors, commit clear cut violation of the national law and the constitution and the UN declaration of the rights of the child. Suggestions: The distribution of free books in primary schools should be ensured without any discrimination besides reshaping the educational system and the parents, who cannot afford their childrens school expenses, may start sending their children to schools. Awareness campaigns must be initiated and the attention of parents ought to be diverted to the education of their children. Moreover the orphans and other deserving children must be helped financially on a prolonged basis. It is pertinent to mention here that that agreement, recently signed between Pakistan, Norway and ILO, should be implemented in order to eradicate child Labour.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt