Child Labour and Children’s Education in Northern Region of Ghana. Case Study of Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo and East Mamprusi Districts

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Education is the key element in the prevention of child labour, at the same time child labour is one of the main obstacles of education at the basic level. Child labour has assumed alarming proportion the world over and most especially in the developing world. Literature indicates that child labour is the main obstacle of human resource development which is a necessary ingredient of national development. Understanding the interplay between education and child labour will help to eliminate it and improve on school enrolment. According to the Ghana Child Labour Survey carried out in 2001, half of the rural and about one fifth of the urban children was economically active. The survey examines child labour and children’s education in the Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo and East Mamprusi districts of the Northern Region of Ghana. The case study method was used in the study because of its relevance in contemporary developmental issues like the child labour. The sample frame was the list of all the houses in the selected communities from which a sample size of 155 was determined through the use of the mathematical formula given by Miller and Brewer (2003). Systematic sampling was then used to select the households who were interviewed. The study relied on data gathered from the secondary sources and primary data from the field to do the analysis. The results of the study indicate Child labour is considered as a normal practice and indeed healthy to the proper upbringing of the child. Children working on family farms and with family enterprises are seen as part of the process by which they are trained towards adulthood. The reasons given by the heads of households surveyed for allowing their children to work were categorized into four and they are as follows; to support family income (38.1%), as a form of child training (41.3%), to support child education 7.7%) and to help in household enterprises (12.9%). The results of the survey show that all children in ages 5- 17 years of households surveyed in the study area at least do household chores. In all there are six hundred and seventy-five (675) children in this age bracket of the households surveyed. Most of them apart from household chores also work to assist their parents in their enterprises and on the farms especially during rainy season. International NGOs such as CAMFED and FAWE are in the study area sensitizing girls on their rights including their right to education. The activities of these NGOs according to some of the beneficiaries have impacted positively on their education since they no longer depend on their parents for school fees and uniforms. There are no specific programmes by the district assemblies to fight the child labour problem though the officials admit child labour exist in their districts. The study made a number of recommendations including the following; improving the local economy, tackling the broader socio-cultural and economic situation of farmers, increasing access, quality and relevance of education, motivating teachers to give their best, embarking on family planning campaigns, extension of social amenities to the area and making and enforcing laws on child labour. With the knowledge of what pertains on the ground about child labour would help to improve education if suggestions are factored into plans for the area.
A Thesis Submitted to School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of MASTER OF SCIENCE(Development Policy and Planning).