A STUDY ON THE IMPACT OF CHILD LABOUR ON SCHOOL ATTENDANCE AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
Background of the Study
In Nigeria, the main instrument for social change is western education. Education is the surest and greatest investment which a nation can depend on for the rapid development of its economic and human resources. Education is a long term measure and must be pursued when the nation is in dire need of immediate restoration of balanced economy. Nigeria like other nations of the world wants people who should contribute to the development of the nation through education. Such education should be structured to produce knowledge and skills to pursue cultural values and develop technologically.
UNICEF (2006) reported that a huge 15 million children under the age of 14 are engaged in one form of labour or the other in Nigeria. Majority of these children are exposed to long hours of work under very dangerous and unhealthy environment. Children employed in public places and markets as street beggars and shoe shiners, car washers and watchers, scavengers and feet washers in part of the country. In Northern Nigeria, children that survive on street begging are called “almajirai”. The rise in the state of child labour in the country could have been a consequence of the demand for cheap labour and poverty. Children have always worked in Nigeria. The philosophy of most culture in Nigeria encourages children to work with their families the learning skills they would need as adults. But today, children are forced to work for their own and their family’s survival. The money earned by a child’s family members has become a significant part of poor families’ income. Child labour could lead to mass drop-out from primary and secondary schools; involvement in crimes and drug related habits; hamper human capital development and the potentials of developing countries like Nigeria. There is a wide-spread belief that early employment is destructive to children’s intellectual and physical development especially that of young children. International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates in 1999 indicated that 24.2 percent of children in Nigeria between the ages of 10 and 14 years work. The latter situation could be responsible for the increasing rate of child trafficking in Nigeria. Nigeria is a major source, destination and transit for trafficking
of children. Key source and destination countries of trafficking children from and to Nigeria include Cameroun, Gabon, Benin, Equatorial Guinea and Togo.