ASSESSING THE INFLUENCE OF CHILD LABOUR ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF SECONDARY SCHOOLSTUDENTS
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Child Labor is a working child who is under the age of 18 years specified by law.
Any child who is involved in gainful employment, feed self and augments family income at the experience of learning for the purpose of school examination success is being subjected to child labor.
Influence is the power to make other people agree with your opinions or do what you want.
Agents this background, the study examined the influence of child labor on academic performance of secondary school students as perceived by teachers in Ila Local Government.
Data collected were from Ten (10) Secondary Schools in Ila Local Government.
Two Hundred (200) respondents were engaged in the study.
The percentages t-test and ANOVA statistical method were used for analysis of data collected.
The result derived from the analysis revealed that child labour influence academic performance of students as perceived by teachers in Ila Local Government among others.
In the hypothesis for influence of child labor on students’ academic performance on the basis of gender, there was no significant different.
In hypothesis for influence child labor on academic performance of students on the basis school types, there was no significant difference.
In the hypothesis for influence of child labor on academic performance of students on the basis of class taught, there was no significant difference.
In the hypothesis for influence of child labor on academic performance of students on the basis of teaching experience, there was no significant difference.
Based on this findings, it was recommended that parent should be sensitized by the teachers on the importance of their student academics so as to understand their role and involvement in their children’s academic performance.
This will make them minimize the child labor at home and make them concentrate in their school work.
It was also recommended that, there should be enforcement of law by the Ministry of Education and other education stakeholder to guide the children against child labor that affect their academic performance.
Background to the Study
According to Pinzo and Hofferth (2008), child labour is a far reaching and complex problem in developing countries.
It has existed in various forms (force labor, trafficking and street trading) in different parts of the world since ancient time.
The types of child labor vary according to the country’s culture, and family culture, rural or urban residency, socio-economic condition and existing level of development among other factors.
A survey by Global March (2008) stated that child labor emerged as an issue during the industrial revolution when children were forced to work in dangerous conditions for well up to 12 hours in a day.
In 1860, 50% of children in England between the ages of 5 and 15 were said to be working.
However, 1919 saw the world systematically begin to address the issue of child labor and the International Labor Organization (ILO) adopted standards to eliminate it.
Throughout the 20th century, a number of legally binding agreements and international conventions were adopted but despite all this, child labor continues to this day.
The highest number of child laborers are said to be in the Asia-pacific region, but the largest percentage of children, as proportion of the child population, is evidently found in sub-Saharan Africa with Nigeria (Ila Local Government, Osun State) having a fair share.
The word child labor is any form of physical, psychological, social, emotional and sexual maltreatment of a child whereby the survival, safety, self-esteem, growth and development of the child are endangered. Herrenkohl (2005) and Psachropoulo (2007), viewed child labor as a disinvestment of social and human capital, a compromising of the development of the individual, and a hindering of the development of skills, abilities, and knowledge necessary to make significant contribution to society, Convention on the Rights of the Child CRC, (2002) described child labor as paid and unpaid work that occurs in any sector, including domestic, and agricultural sectors, that are harmful to children’s mental, physical, social or moral development of the child in the modern society; any work that deprives children opportunity to attend school, obliges them to leave school permanently or requires them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work is categorized as child labor.
The Article I of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child, defines a child as any one below the age of 18.
Child labor does not only exist in the impoverished areas of developing countries, but also flourish in other developed nations.
Though, it is a complex problem in developing countries.
Child labor remains a major source of concern in Nigeria, in spite of legislative measure taken by the government at various levels.
In 1998, a report from the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that 24.6% of children between the ages 10-14 in Nigeria were working (World Development Indicator 2000).
Earlier before that time in 1994, the United Nations children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) reported that approximately 24 percent (12 million) of all children under the age of 15 worked (UNICEF, 2005).
It is a ridiculous sight in most big cities, as well as rural villages today to see children of school age, trading food on the street, herding animals, tanning and drying raw leather product, fetching water for commercial purpose, washing dishes at restaurants, serving as domestic hands, selling wares at kiosks, collecting fire wood for business, harvesting crops in family farm or commercial plantation amongst other activities (Thomberry 2013), agreement with the labor abuse (child labour) trend, the International Labor Organization (2002) in it other report issued, states that the global figure of child laborers was put at appropriately 250 million.
The report adds that the ages of the children range between 4-14 years with 120 million of them working full time.
According to Robinson (2009) the phenomenon of child labor is arguably the tallest challenges that impacts directly on school enrolment, attendance, academic performance, completion rates as well as health rest, leisure and the general psychological disposition of children.
As stated earlier, child labor takes various forms such as street trading, gardening, child caring, handicrafts, house chores, prostitutions and trafficking etc., there all have implication on the learners level of commitment.
Obinaju (2005) also viewed child work in a more detailed way, in the perspective of culture.
To the author, child labour covers tasks and activities that are undertaken by children to assist their parents or guardians.
In particular, such jobs as cooking, washing dishes, planting, harvesting crops, fetching water and firewood, herding cattle, and babysitting.
In this case child labor simply aims at tasks and activities which are geared towards the socialization process, if education must be wholesome.
However, the International Labor Organization (ILO), in it condemnation, said, child labor is as stipulated hereunder: children prematurely leading adult lives, normally working long hours for low wages under conditions damaging to their health and to their physical and mental development, sometimes separated from their families, frequently deprived of meaningful educational training opportunities that could open for them a better future.
International Labor Organization (2001), in a study entitled” focusing on the worst forms of child labor in Tanzanian says child labor refers to work carried out to the detriment and endangerment of the child, mentally, physically, socially and morally.
Child labor is generally interpreted as “all cases in which children are exposed to harm at work whether or not children are less than 14 years old or less” (UNICEF, 2005).
The meanings and implications of child labor have been highly dependent on it social, cultural and economic context as well as missions, strategies, and objectives of each organization.
Two of the major international organizations traditionally working on behalf of child labor issues, the International Labor Organization (ILO) and United Nations Education and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) had utilized quite different child labor concepts and categorization until at least the early 1990s.
Trade unions and ILO often used “child labor” and child laborer” instead of “working children” implying that children should be kept away from the labor force at least until they reach a minimum working age on the basis of the fact that this organizations historically tended to protect and secure adult labor market.
Scanlon (2002) conversely, referred to “child labor” according to articles 32 of the conventions on the rights of the child, in which child labor includes any economic activities impeding or hindering the child’s full development or education.
UNICEF described child labor as work that violates children’s human rights (Post, 2001).
The International Labor Organization categorized child labor as follows.
i. Agricultural laborers.
ii. Domestic laborers.
iii. Street laborers and
iv. Factory laborers with wages.
Golden and Prather (2009) claimed that “child labor” is exploitative, as the latter potentially impairs the health and development of the children.
By contrast, James and James (2008) although agencies such as ILO, and UNICEF working on child labor issues originally had different concepts on child labor, following the establishment of the worst form of labor convention 182 in 1999 as well as inter-agency research cooperation such as understanding children’s work in 2000, a growing consensus has emerged that child labor refers to unacceptable forms of child work.
According to UNICEF (2005), the current official definitions of child labor involves as follows:
1. Child work or children’s work is a general term covering the entire spectrum of work and related tasks performed by children.
2. Child labor refers to the subset of children’s work that is injurious to children and that should be targeted for elimination.
3. Hazardous work refers to physical, psychological or sexual abuse.
(unconditional) worst form of child labor includes “children of any age below 18 who are involved in forms of slavery and force labor, including forced recruitment for use in armed conflicts, commercial sexual exploitation (prostitution or pornography), illicit activities (particularly the production or trafficking of drugs) and hazardous work that jeopardizes their lives, health or moral”.
On the other hand, the International Labor Organization’s official defines child labor in the following categories.
1. In ages 5-11 = all children at work in economic activity.
2. In ages 12-14 = all children at work in economic activity minus those in light work.
3. In ages 15-17 = all children in hazardous work and other worst forms of child labour
International Lab our Education and International Program for the Elimination of Child Abuse (ILO, IPEC, 2002).
The South Asian Coalition on child servitude, (SACCS, 2003) in its perspectives defined “labor as a set up where an employee (labor) sells his or her labor to an employer with certain work related conditions, such as wages, amenities bargaining power, rights and legal safe-guards.
It implies that not all work performed by children can be termed child labor.
In some studies like Aderinto, (2000) children laborer are regarded as “street children” or “children of the street” who run away from parental or guardian abused, leaving them to eke out a living on other.
This name “street children paralyzed them from thinking ahead, thus rendering them educationally useless and hopeless.
Teichman (2000), states that most times they go through physical and health consequences such as respiratory problems, injuries, accidents, physical and sexual abuse such as rape and molestation malnourishment, extortion of income, police harassment, and participation in harmful delinquent activities all inimical to educational successes.
In other studies, by (Charles & Charles, 2004) child labourers face robbery, inadequate sleep due to fatigue and long hour job, and confinement in juvenile hordes.
Most times they suffer from mental related sickness such as; stigmatization from the press and public, feelings of disheartenment, stress and irritability, personality disorders, and anti-social behavior, and alienation and isolation from their family and these have significant negative effect upon the level of education, school attendance, academic performance, grade, literacy, leisure time, and overall human capital formation of the child worker.
The general notion held by many is that child labor, is detrimental to learners academic capability, however, some opinions differ regarding “when and how” a particular work is to be truly regarded as harmful to the future of a child or even interferes with his wellbeing.
There is an argument of relativism in this discourse.
A possible interpretation in this regard is to look at it in terms of opportunity cost” (gains and foregone alternatives).
From this purview, a particular work would be harmful if it entails an opportunity cost in terms of other activities that are beneficial for the child and his development with reference to safety, nutrition, study, morality, leisure, rest (Okafor, 2010).
This school of thought believes and sees child labour as an inevitable process of growth, development and integration of the child as stated in the social theory above.
Nevertheless, the adverse consequences of child labor differ by whether they are oriented toward market or home production, as well as whether they are inside or outside the home.
Therefore, the question should be child time allocation to work activities by where they occurs (inside or outside household) by whether or not they are related to a family enterprise.
For Rosati and Rossi (2003), attending school and working are decision that are usually considered simultaneously as a family conversely, these authors also posit that the number of hours the child devote to work is one of the fundamental variables for evaluating the child wellbeing.
Added researches in developing countries have found that the majority of child and youth laborers regularly attend school.
However, in certain cases, a negative relationship between the number of hours worked and the hours of school attendance has been found (Boozer and Suri, 2001).
Buonomo (2011) found that children who work below the medium predicted by the proposed statistical model (up to two hours daily) demonstrated better school results (measured years in school, age grade ratio, completion of elementary education, completion of at least one year secondary education) than those children who only attend school.
This finding indicates that while there is clear evidence of the negative impact of labor on the minor education, a minimal devotion to labor does not seem to have a significant effect on the education of children and youth.
However, attendance is an indication that does not sufficiently explain the impact of child labor, as it does not take into account the quality of the child’s experience in school.
Meanwhile, majority cases, child labor makes adequate child and youth inclusion in the educational system difficult. (Grootaert and Kanbur, 2005).
Dyer (2007) observes that, given that the time for work takes away from the time allocated to studies and that the attention to academic activities is reduced, due to the fatigue produced by the labor. .
One of the major adverse trends in child labour is the proliferation of young conductors in the transport industry.
Horsch, (2002) state that most victims work in public place such as street, markets which does not give them time to go to school and perform excellently this is mostly affected by students in secondary school.
All in all, child labour seems to have a clear negative effect on academic performance.
Ukwu (2001) estimate on child labour in Nigeria in general and Ila Local Government Osun State in particular, indicate that 20 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 14 involved in street trading on cheap articles, edible and products such as sachet water, plantain chips, bread, biscuit, okpa, ugba, fruits, vegetable, wears and newspapers in the streets and along the road especially at damaged portions of the roads where motorist and other road users are constrained to slow down due to bad condition of such roads.
Bonded labor which is also known as debt bondage is another form of child labour suffered by most youths at the current generation (Sebre, 2004).
Child labor, also according to Okafor, (2010) exists in the form of house help or domestic servants.
In this case, privilege people from the cities easily convince poor rural parents to hand in their children to them with various promises of better life and education. However, these children are sooner than later turned into house helps who cook food, wash clothes, care for babies, fetch water and attend to all sorts of household chores etc.
Children in domestic service in Nigeria can be in several forms.
Firstly, it may include children from other families, parents or another society employed by certain people who are believed to be wealthy and sometime of modest income.
Abused children gets up very early in the morning and begins his or her work by fetching water from a nearby well, balancing the heavy jug on his or her head as he or she returns, Prepares breakfast, and serve members of household.
In addition, he/she later does the remaining jobs in the evenings and late in the night (Moses, 2005).
In other instances, some of the children are taken to shop and business centers/workshops, to serve for a number of years (usually between 5-7 years) with the promise to assist them establish their personal business outfit at the end of their service period.
In many case such children are exploited as they are merely used and dump on the basis of one accusation or the other.
This has led to the frustration of many youths who lack the adequate machinery to seek any form of redress or social safety nets to fall back on. (Nanchi and Uba 2003).
Sabate and Rayah(2011), in his assertion, comment as thus: child labor impacts negatively on the achievement or performance of basic education because it leads to high drop rates as it easy for children to be easily deceived by meager income that trickle in, into believing that leaving school to give more time and attention to their work is a better option as they will get rich faster than their peers who have to spend many years in school.
This can also lead to low academic achievement/poor performance on account of which the child would be expected to repeat a grade, this can cause fear, low self-esteem/shame both on the parts of the child and parents and make them to develop certain apathy for schooling and in such cases, and drop out could be a possible consequence.
In some situations, such children are considered poor and unfit for academic pursuits and the tendency is usually to pull them out of school for a certain trade or apprenticeship thereby perpetrating further abuses since many poor parents may not be willing to give them a second chance.
There is trade-off by most parents between the time children spend in labor and that spent attending school and doing some school related assignment (homework).
Majority of child laborers either do not attend school or skip school to various degree (Ekwe 2002).
Obviously, the greater the time children allocated to work and economic activities, the increase difficult it becomes to attend school since one cannot eat his/her cake and still have it.
According to ILO 2006, report, 74.4 million children aged 5-14 year who skipped school and engage in employment were victims of physical and mental hazard, most common are road and industrial accidents, abduction and ritual murder etc.
many of them have been hit by cars, tricycle (Kekenapep), motor cycle (Okada), bicycle etc. leading to deaths, disabilities and various magnitude of injuries.
The National Modular Child Labor Survey (NMCLS 2001) confirmed that “across zones, South East recorded the highest percentage – 16.4 percent-of children who suffered injury often, followed by children in the North-West who recorded 7.8 percent.
Whilst South-South, South-West and North-central recorded 2.8 percent, 2.9 percent and 1.1 percent respectively, North-East had the least percentage of .0.9 percent of children who suffered injury often (NMCLS, 2001 P.97).
There is also a psychological dimension to the health related issues of child labour. These include; low self-esteem, stigmatization, personality crises since they often see and hear things beyond their maturity.
Thus posit a huge challenge that negatively affect their cognition and retention abilities.
Generally, working children are known perceived themselves as less privilege and less fortunate than their non-working counterparts.
An ILO survey across 26 countries found that at least one in every four economically active children suffered sickness and injury as a result of their work, while about 2.7 million healthy year of life are lost due to child labor, each year with the highest rate in the sectors where children are employed, (ILO, 2006).
Such hazardous incident could eventually jeopardizes the capability of being sound academically.
Despite the various views on the effect of child labor and the contradictory opinions by some authorities, in all, time spent in school is a poor measure of learning in school. Above, it was separately indicated that child labor and time in school may be inversely related, even if child labor does not harm learning.
It is possible that child labor harms learning even if it does not alter time in school. For example, it is possible that child labor does not alter school enrolment, or even that it does not alter school attendance because child leisure is lowered to make time for child work.
However, child labor could still adversely affect school outcome by limiting time spent on homework, or it could leave the child too tired to make efficient use of the time in school.
Numerous studies of learning tell us that it is cognitive achievement or highest grade attained that matter for learning’s not time spent in school parse.
Statement of Problem
The Children academic performance in secondary schools in Nigeria cannot be over emphasized. Nevertheless, the trend of poor academic achievement among students’ over the years seems to be on the increase.
It may be due to influence of child labor which has been the prevalent mode of Child hard labor and child abuse which affect the performance of secondary school students in Lia Local Government and does not inspire and motivate students’ interest towards the learning of the subjects in secondary schools.
The students may end up therefore having low interest which could lead to poor achievement in academic performance in schools.
There appears, to be no available empirical study on the influence of child labor on academic performance of secondary school students in Ila Local Government, Osun state, Nigeria.
Therefore, the problem of this study posed as questions are “what are the influence of child labor on academic performance of secondary school students’ in Ila local Government, Osun state? Could failure of student, low enrollment of student, gender and interest be militating factors on students’ academic achievement in secondary schools in Ila Local Government, Osun state?
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of child labour on academic performance of secondary school students in Ila Local Government.